Since then, GST compliance has been curtailed to single summary return filing form although its expected that a comprehensive yet simplified system would be in place from July.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIC) has pulled up its field formations for lagging behind their state-level counterparts in revenue collection and enforcement of anti-evasion measures. In several letters written by CBIC member John Joseph to the zonal heads of the indirect tax administration (FE has reviewed these), he has pointed out how they are lax on using the data analytics reports generated on ‘risky taxpayers’.
Last year, the then revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia too had pointed out that state tax officials were doing decisively better than their counterparts with the Centre in revenue collection and recovery.
“Except the zones of Mumbai, Bengaluru, Panchkula, Delhi, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Nagpur, Bhopal, Kolkata, Ranchi, Vadodara and Bhubaneshwar, in all other zones the shortfall is higher than the state administration. Our collections are much below the targets,” John wrote to 21 chief commissioners in early January.
Later in the month, Joseph reminded the field formations that director general of analytics and risk management (DGARM) had prepared reports on 88,000 GST registrants based on their compliance behaviour. He asked each range to verify the contents of the report for at least three taxpayers each week, and upload feed back on the same so that reports can be improved upon.
Three weeks later, Joseph, who heads the investigation division in CBIC, shot another letter to zone-heads saying: “I am much pained to observe that even after 3 weeks with almost 88,000 GSTN number being sent by the ARM to the field for verification, only about 1,500 feed backs have been received in the DDM portal so far. Except for 12 commissionerates other have not even provided a single feed back.”
The anti-evasion efforts under GST suffered a setback in the first few months of launch when the government had to suspend the full-fledged return-filing system owing to glitches in the system and complaints from taxpayers that compliance was too cumbersome. Since then, GST compliance has been curtailed to single summary return filing form although its expected that a comprehensive yet simplified system would be in place from July.
“This shows gravity of situation in which either the chief commissioners are not in a position to control the staff under his command or there is an absence of interest in following up with ARM reports,” Joseph said last month. Further, he added that the performance needed to improve to ensure 9,000 verification are done every week by 3,000 ranges being spread across the country
However, till late February, five zones had still not uploaded a single feedback on ‘risky taxpayers’ report uploaded by DGARM, Joseph said. DGARM came into existence on the same day as GST was rolled out. Its mandate is to generate actionable intelligence from huge amount of data generated under GST.