It has been six months since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the country is still working on to adapt to the new indirect tax regime, which subsumed over a dozen indirect tax. The government on Friday extended the deadline for filing first of the three comprehensive GST returns — GSTR-1 which is populated with sales details — to January 10 from December 31.
The GST Council has taken decisions on several fronts to make the process easier and increase compliance by reducing rates. On November 10, after its 23rd meeting, the GST Council announced rate cuts on as many as 178 items, following which the revenue fell significantly. However, to curb tax evasion, approved an early roll-out of the e-way bill for the interstate movement.
Earlier, tax evasion was rampant as some preferred not to pay tax by resorting to cash dealing. Once the e-way bill system is implemented, tax avoidance will become extremely difficult as the government will have details of all goods above the value of Rs 50,000 moved and can spot the mismatch if either the supplier or the purchaser does not file tax returns, a government official told PTI.
GST collections slipped for the second straight month to Rs 80,808 crore in November, down from over Rs 83,000 crore in the previous month. The total collection of GST till December 25 stood at Rs 80,808 crore for November and 53.06 lakh returns have been filed for the month. As per the data available, GST collections in July was over Rs 95,000 crore, while in August the figure was over Rs 91,000 crore. In September, it was over Rs 92,150 crore.
With government revenue falling, further rate cuts are unlikely as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had been pressing for lower rates but only when there is revenue buoyancy.
Aiming to protect consumers’ interest, the government established National Anti-profiteering Authority under the GST. The GST Anti-profiteering body has the authority to act and tell the concerned business or supplier to reduce prices or undue benefit availed by it along with interest to the recipient of the goods or services.
It is likely that natural gas will get under the ambit of GST in next couple of months. Revenue authorities may now tighten the enforcement grip on industries, who had been taking it slow for the first six months allowing them to settle in the new tax regime.