GST - The Curious Case of Tweets & Press Releases

July 21,2017
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K. Vaitheeswaran, Advocate

India has seen the implementation of GST from 1st July 2017 with the legislative mechanism firmly in place.   The press is divided on the pains and gains of GST.  One vendor has no clue of GST while another vendor uses GST to increase his price.  The organized sector is busy trying to grapple with the changes and simultaneously delivering sermons to their vendors to register.  The professional community is busy in spreading all kinds of information through the social media platforms. Basic economic principles have been forgotten and tax has been assumed to be the only factor in pricing by the anti-profiteering exponents.

The Government has hyper activated its communication channels and there are hundreds of tweets clarifying various legal aspects of GST.  E-fliers on every topic and one-page FAQs in the newspaper can be regularly seen.  In addition to all these, a number of Press Releases have been issued on the subject clarifying the legal position.  While Press Releases do indicate that the Government is active and responding to the ground realities, it is sad to note that legal concepts and due process of law have all been given a go by.

Firstly, let us look at the tweets.  Twitter is a social platform available to the few of the elitist members in the society or people who are tech savvy and involved in public social platforms.  The ordinary trader or the manufacturer or the contractor or the caterer or the jeweler or the transport agency or broker or a developer or a professional is not necessarily an active player in twitter.  These tweets get shared in WhatsApp and other chat platforms and there is total confusion. 

The irony is that the first tweet itself was to the effect that the tweets are not binding.


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I ask a question and give an answer. This seems to be case with the curious tweet syndrome. in the days to come, we may have show cause notices issued as tweets or on the assessee facebook page. Perhaps the government feels that taxmen and consultants and etc. etc. are not at all warranted. What is needed is only the taxpayer and his hard earned money. Actually, an RTI application needs to be filed to know the amount of money spent on carrying these adverts in the prominent newspapers. As rightly said, when they have no legal validity why issue them in the first place. And are tweets legally admissible as pieces of evidence?

It would not be far when the CERA audit sharpens their pens and analyses these tweets and conclude that all the benefits which are presumably extended by these tweets is all rubbish and has caused immense loss of revenue - half margin reports, here we come!

Thank you very much for highlighting the issue created by tweets and press releases. nice article.