Goods and Services Tax Council, the federal indirect tax body, is set to take several decisions to curb tax evasion in its first meeting to be chaired by new finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 21 June. The government plans to increase scrutiny on businesses amid lower-than-expected GST collections after handholding them through the first two years of the tax reform. The 35th meeting of the GST Council will seek to introduce compliance requirements, initially on big businesses and eventually on all merchants to curb tax leakage. The proposals before the council include compulsory generation of e-invoicing by large companies, validation of e-way bills (electronic permits issued for the movement of goods) with the data generated at toll plazas and geotagging of companies, said a person familiar with the discussions in the council.
Generation of e-invoices will improve the transparency of transactions and act as an extra layer of regulatory oversight on transactions of large companies. One existing safety feature in the GST framework is the rebate for taxes paid on past transactions in the value chain that forces buyers and sellers to keep a tab on each other. “E-invoicing on the designated portal will be implemented initially on companies with a large turnover, which will be specified. Once the system works, it can be extended to others,” the person cited earlier said on condition of anonymity. This is likely to be limited to business-to-business transactions initially.