Concerned over the deferment of invoice-matching and falling GST revenue, the Central Board of Excise and Custom (CBEC) has asked tax commissioners to collect granular data of taxes paid and credit availed by assessees under the goods and services tax (GST) for the July-October period and compare the same with the corresponding period of last fiscal. This, the board hopes, will bring out any anomalies in tax payment and utilisation of input tax credits (ITC) by taxpayers. The analysis of the data is to be submitted to the board, which will be taken up for discussion this Saturday when the revenue secretary meets state and central tax officials for a review meeting. A tax official said that the department wasn’t convinced about the validity of the ITC claims, which was one of the main reasons for lower GST mop-up in October. The department has earlier undertaken verification of large quantum of transitional credit — amounting to `65,000 crore, claimed by assessees.
However, the official also said that since assessees are being asked for data informally without being under investigation, the taxpayers are within their right to refuse to share such information. This has presented a twin problem for officials tasked with the exercise, as assessees can’t be forced to share the information while the task itself requires substantial time. “I have seen the sheet and extent of data asked under it. This is a comprehensive sheet and officers are forcing the taxpayer to provide this data, leaving aside all their routine tasks,” Rajat Mohan, partner at AMRG associates, said. He added that one of his clients has already refused to share information despite repeated requests from tax officials. CBEC has provided comprehensive GSTR 3B, the summary tax return, data at the assessees’ level to all the zones. It wants the top 100 assessees to be selected by each of the commissionerates based on central excise and service tax revenue of FY 17 for revenue analysis. Each official would be given a maximum of two taxpayers for detailed analysis. The analysis would be based on central GST, state GST, integrated GST and compensation cess paid by assessees against pre-GST revenue of the corresponding period. In cases where it is possible, the officials would also take VAT and CST revenue into account.
Further, these will include the pattern and quantum of ITC availed and CGST utilised along with transitional credit availed in form TRAN I and its comparison with the pre-GST period. In their analysis, the officials must also note any unusual ITC claimed, which can be detected by comparing the TRAN 1 ITC availed with the average ITC balance during pre-GST. “This analysis should clearly bring out any reason for variation in total duty/tax payable during respective periods,” the official quoted above said. Additionally, the board has directed the commissioners to collect data only in the excel format, without any change in the format provided by the department.