Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections, in aggregate, are still way below the targets set by the authorities, but their efforts to improve compliance, check excessive use of input tax credits and frustrate frauds like fake invoicing are paying off, albeit gradually.
Since the Centre cut its own budget estimate for GST by over 8% to Rs 6.1 lakh crore, it would likely meet the revised estimate, even with the current pace of collections; but in order to be able to meet the gross collections target, which includes fully compensating the states for any revenue shortfall from the assured annual-growth level of 14%, the March mop-up requires to be an impossibly high Rs 1.4 lakh crore. The compliance rate of monthly returns filing by the registered taxpayers rose to over 80% in February (for January transactions), from just 59% in May 2019.
Since the filing of the GSTR 3B, the monthly return, involves discharge of the self-assessed tax liability, the increase in filing of these returns has pushed up collections, especially in the four months to February (see chart). The authorities have also blocked ITC claimed by thousands of businesses to the extent these claims are not corroborated by invoices uploaded by their suppliers, multiple tax practitioners told FE.