The Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection for August came in at Rs 90,669 crore as on Tuesday even as only 55% of the eligible registrants paid the taxes, compared with Rs 94,063 crore garnered for July till August 31. The first two months’ GST collections have brought comfort to the government as these exceeded the budget targets of the Centre and at least keep pace with the revenue-neutral estimates for states. With the data for the two months tallying closely, the GST revenue base is getting stabilised. Of course, refunds to exporters and transitional credit in respect of the central excise and service tax paid in the pre-GST period will impact the net receipts a bit, but the collections could be positively impacted when the remaining of the GST Network registrants also pay taxes along with 10.24 assessees who have opted for the composition scheme. The taxes are being paid along with summarised returns GSTR 3B, while taxpayers have been given the option to file the detailed returns later.
“The total number of tax payers who are required to file monthly returns for August 2017 is 68.20 lakhs, of which 37.63 lakh returns have been filed on September 25,” the finance ministry said in a statement. The last date for paying August GST without interest was September 20. Of the August collection, central GST came in at Rs 14,402 crore, state GST at Rs 21,067 crore and integrated I-GST at Rs 47,377 crore. While imports contributed Rs 23,180 crore to I-GST, the amount collected under compensation cess stood at Rs 7,823 crore (of which Rs 547 crore is compensation cess from imports in August 2017). The August receipts from compensation cesses also reflected the hike in auto cess , as the collections are up around `600 crore from July receipts.
Recently, the government dispelled the concerns over “high” transitional credit claim of Rs 65,000 crore reducing the government’s GST income, stating that the claims were not incredibly high, it said about Rs 95,000 crore, which was received in August 2017 (for July GST), is the amount actually paid in cash other than availing credit, it said. “Firstly, Rs 65,000 crore is the credit claimed by the taxpayers in the TRANS 1 form as their balance of credit. It does not mean that they would have used all of this credit for payment of their output tax liability for the month of July 2017,” the ministry explained. Transitional claims can be availed of by the businesses against their supplies in the next six months. “There are still a number of assessees who have not filed their returns either for July or August, 2017,” the finance ministry said. Over 90 lakh businesses are registered on the GSTN.
Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY India, said, “The GST collection of Rs 90,669 crore for August is slightly lower than the collections for July. However, it is too early to hazard a guess on the overall GST collections as many taxpayers have still not laid GST; there is inconsistency in collections because of transitional credit and exporters not being able to claim refund of GST. Things would settle down only in the next few months wherein a clearer picture on the GST revenues would emerge.”