Revenue Base: About 45% of GST paid by 0.07% of assessees

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Some 6,700 firms or a minuscule 0.07% of the over 96 lakh registered for the goods and services tax (GST) under its regular scheme contribute nearly 45% of the GST revenue collected by the Centre and states. So, if GST collected for a month is Rs 95,000 crore (for June 2018 the collections by the due date was Rs 96,483 crore), about Rs 43,000 crore would come from these large businesses, with a turnover above Rs 500 crore.

Over half of the regular GST registrants report turnovers of less than Rs 20 lakh annually and their tax payment is only 1.56% to the total GST collections. In other words, in a month where GST collection is Rs 95,000 crore, over 48,000 taxpayers together pay less than Rs 1, 500 crore.

Of course, the companies below the Rs 20-lakh turnover aren’t even required to register for GST but the incentives of availability of input tax credit and the fact that registered suppliers are preferred by larger procurers over unregistered ones are the main reasons for these firms to be in the net.

“The number of taxpayers in the highest slab and their (large) contribution may look lopsided compared with the rest of the assessees but this is the norm for all the countries and jurisdictions,” a tax official said.

In the pre-GST regime, over 60% of assessees under the central (excise and service) and state tax (VAT) laws were reporting less than Rs 20 lakh as an annual revenue.

However, many others believe that massive under-reporting of sales among smaller taxpayers cant be ruled out. Another tax official said since the turnover for even small and medium enterprises range from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore, such a large number of taxpayers below the Rs 20-lakh turnover looked dobutful.

What gives credence to the suspicion of possible evasion among smaller taxpayers is the tax collection trend from composition scheme dealers who pay tax as a small percentage of their turnovers. In the January-March quarter, the government received Rs 579 crore from 12 lakh composition-scheme taxpayers. This means that average annual revenue of close to Rs 20 lakh by this class of taxpayers.

While this was still a tad below the GST’s lower threshold of Rs 20 lakh, it was much higher than the average turnover of Rs 8 lakh and Rs 9 lakh, respectively, reported by such assessees in the July-September and October-December quarters.

While regular taxpayers below the Rs 20-lakh threshold get the benefit of input tax credit, the composition scheme assessees aren’t allowed the same. So the question remains as to why a large section of the taxpayers still opt for the composition scheme.

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