The Union government has booked nearly 1,800 cases for issuing fake GST invoices since 2017-18. The highest number of cases have been booked in the last financial year when the authorities booked 1,220 cases involving an amount of nearly Rs 9,500 crore. The government informed the Rajya Sabha that 1,796 cases for issuing fake GST invoices have been booked in three years to claim the Input Tax Credit (ITC) available under the GST. In July 2017, a nationwide goods and service tax was implemented to subsume a host of taxes on production and supply of goods and services levied by both the Union and state governments. The new tax on production and supply of goods was meant to eliminate the cascading of taxes by providing an input tax credit for taxes already paid in the previous stages of manufacturing. However, some businesses started misusing this provision by issuing fake GST invoices to claim the tax concession.
In the last 9 months of FY 2017-18, the central board of excise and customs (CBIC) booked only 8 cases for issuing fake GST invoices, involving an amount of Rs 14.15 crore. The small number of cases was attributed to lax enforcement as tax authorities were interested in stabilizing the tax system that is regarded as the biggest overhaul of the indirect tax system of the country since independence. However, from the next year, the government started to crack the whip as it booked 1,220 cases for issuing fake GST invoices, involving an amount of Rs 9,470 crore. In the first three months of this financial year, the government has already booked 568 cases for issuing fake GST invoices to claim an input tax credit. These involve an amount of Rs 2,034 core. Anurag Thakur, minister of state for finance informed the Rajya Sabha that in the last three years, the government has booked total 1,796 cases for issuing fake GST invoices to claim tax concessions. The total amount involved in these cases works out to be Rs 11,518.55 crore.