Bhutan passes GST Bill despite legal issues

Bhutan's National Assembly passed the much touted Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill 2020 despite legal questions surrounding the House’s decision to defer its implementation. Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering initially said that the government would implement the GST by July 1, 2022. He said that the two-year incubation period was required in view of the need to develop GST billing software and carry out sensitisation programmes, Kuensel reported.

Feb 14, 2020
Bhutan Parliament

Bhutan's National Assembly passed the much touted Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill 2020 despite legal questions surrounding the House’s decision to defer its implementation. Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering initially said that the government would implement the GST by July 1, 2022. He said that the two-year incubation period was required in view of the need to develop GST billing software and carry out sensitisation programmes, Kuensel reported.

However, opposition members insisted that the Bill must prescribe the effective date to avoid possible delays in implementation on various pretexts. Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho suggested July 1, 2021 as the deadline for implementation.

The prime minister partially gave in and proposed that Chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Bill be implemented from July 1, 2021, which the House accepted. The four Chapters contain Sections regarding accounting for GST, payment of GST, refund of net amounts and registration for payment of GST.

“These Chapters need the software for implementation. The rest can be implemented immediately,” Dr Lotay Tshering said.  

The Bill has 30 chapters, 358 sections and 10 schedules and repeals several sections and clauses of the Tax revision Act 2011, Revised Taxes and Levies Act of Bhutan, 2016 and Tax (Amendment) Act of Bhutan 2020.