With the Centre moving on to the fast track to meet the April 2017 deadline, the Punjab government has initiated the process of appointing consultant to help it successfully implement the new tax regime, which will subsume various state levies like octroi and sales tax.
According to sources, other states may also go in for consultants to assist the administration in the preparatory work for GST.
While the Punjab government is looking to appoint a consultant for two years, sources said other states too would be looking at a similar timeline as the hurdles in implementation of GST are expected to come down in 1-2 years.
Among other things, the consultants will be required to suggest organisation structure of the department in the GST regime, strategy for transition period and ways to mitigate risks and checklist of tasks that need to be completed before introduction of GST.
Also, the consultant will be required to frame a communication strategy for administration vis-a-vis stakeholders such as industry and traders.
Also, the consultant will be imparting training on provisions of the GST Act/Rules and processes to officers of the department.
Besides, the entity will calculate the impact of GST implementation on state revenues keeping in view the present rate of tax in the state and the proposed rate of tax under GST.
Touted as the biggest tax reform since Independence, the GST will subsume excise, service tax, cess, VAT and other local levies and create a uniform market for seamless transfer of goods and services.
The GST draft rules on payment, returns and refund have been finalised and the all-powerful GST Council will decide on the tax rate by October 20.