Tax authorities have put on hold for a few months scrutiny of goods and services tax (GST) compliance by businesses and traders, despite a gaping hole in revenue receipts this fiscal year, and an ambitious 18% growth forecast for 2019-20. The authorities will, however, continue to collect data on transactions from various sources, which will be useful once enforcement measures are scaled up.
The pause on anti-evasion measures till early July will help the government in several ways, especially to avoid unsettling the business and trading community before the crucial national polls due in April-May, a government official said, requesting anonymity. Besides, tax authorities will also have the annual returns, as well as audit report, for the first year (2017-18) of the tax reform by July. India would also have completed the two-year transition period of the largest tax reform since Independence.
“After the elections, enforcement will be stepped up. Now a long rope has been given. All data about registered businesses, the volume of transactions and those who do not file returns are captured by GST Network (the company that processes tax returns),” he added. A scale up of anti-evasion measures is crucial for the Union government to achieve the over 18% rise in total GST collection projected for FY20 at ₹7.6 trillion. The government lowered its projection for FY19 by a massive ₹1 trillion to ₹6.4 trillion in the interim budget.