The VAT Online Project of the National Board of Revenue has sought feedback from field-level offices on the efficacy of the automated VAT system as part of making assessments about the applicability of the system.
The VOP wants to address the limitations, if any, of the integrated VAT administration system (IVAS) before the project expires.
The tenure of the project is set to expire on June 30 as the revenue board is unlikely to extend the tenure further.
The revenue board will take over the system from the developer Vietnamese firm which created the system and operate the system on its own after the expiry of the project.
VOP officials said that the project authorities took the move to assess the userfriendliness of the system based on the feedback from the field-level VAT officials.
More than 100 VAT officials from across the country have been given access to the system to assess the pros and cons of the system, they said.
The VOP will bring necessary changes, if required, on the system based on the experiences of the fieldlevel VAT officials, they added.
The assessment process will also increase awareness among the field-level officials about the system as there are allegations that a section of field-level officials are not adopting the system in many cases.
Many officials at the customs houses are not logging into the system to verify the VAT returns certificates, ignoring instructions of the revenue board and asking traders to submit manual certificates for release of imported goods.
Although an importer is required to file VAT returns for the last previous months to get release of the imported goods, he or she is not required to submit the VAT payment certificates manually if the VAT returns are filed online.
The customs officials are supposed to check them on the VAT online system.
But in many cases, the traders are being asked to submit the documents manually, a number of traders said.
They said that the VOP should make the field officials aware and sensitise them to adopt the automated VAT system to reduce the cost of doing business as many low-rank officials were not sufficiently aware of the issues.
According to the NBR, so far more than 2.52 lakh traders have obtained their business identification numbers (BIN), known as the VAT registration number under the online system.
Of them, 1.06 lakh traders filed their VAT returns in March and around half of the VAT returns were filed online.
A customs official, however, said that the customs houses sought manual documents as they could only find certificates of the last few months on the NBR’s web site instead of the last 12 months.
They have already informed the matter to the revenue board.
The VOP has already introduced the VAT online registration, online returns submission, e-payment and e-refund modules under the system.
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