Advertisement bills raised sans mandatory GST registration

Brazen flout of GST norms by govt. run daily publications
Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
21 Nov 2017

Even as the new tax regime implemented by the Union Government from 1st July 2017, Goods and Services Tax (GST), makes mandatory for all government agencies, which deducts tax at source, to get itself registered and obtain GST number and 5 percent of GST has been prescribed for advertisement  space in newspaper, brazen flout of the norms by two prominent government publications has come to light. The administration’s official mouthpiece, The Daily Telegrams and Dweep Samachar, published advertisements worth thousands of rupees in its daily editions levying GST on customers while the Information and Publicity Division of the Andaman and Nicobar Administration, which manages the affairs of the two publications, has till date failed to register with the GST portal.
As per reports, the advertisement collection centre of the two publications, Govt. Press, has been charging GST on private and government advertisements since July 1 this year, which is reflected in vouchers, but the practice without quoting the agency’s GST registration is gross violation of the recently implemented tax regulation. “Without registration with the GST portal, no private or government agencies can charge GST from customers. But the flagrant violation by two government newspaper has continued with impunity for the past several months. Being considered as the largest circulated daily newspapers of these islands, hundreds of individuals and commercial establishments publish advertisement in The Daily Telegrams, but in turn are being fleeced by the government agencies. It is mandatory for any organisation levying GST on goods and services to clearly quote its GST registration number on the voucher. But despite several complaints from customers, the advertisement collection centre of the two publications charges GST on ads without having a valid GST registration, which is an open violation of the rules,” said some readers of The Daily Telegrams.
When contacted, the Director of Information and Publicity, Mr Amit Anand, informed that the department is in the process of obtaining GST registration. “It’s true that GST is being charged from customers for publication of advertisement in the government newspapers, but for lack of certain documents like PAN Card no. etc, the department couldn’t register for GST till date. Unlike private establishments, it’s difficult for government agencies to trace out old documents dating back to decades, which are mandatory for filing to obtain GST registration. Besides Information and Publicity Division, there are many other government departments, which still not have registered for GST. However, the process has been initiated and we’re hopeful of obtaining GST registration in about a week’s time,” informed Mr Anand.