The government expects the buoyancy in goods and services tax (GST) to continue and is focusing on tighter audit and other measures to boost collections in the coming months as it seeks to make a monthly mop-up of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore the new normal.
The government had managed to rake in over Rs 1.5 lakh crore in October, the second highest monthly kitty since the indirect tax regime was launched in mid-2017. What has comforted the government is healthy growth in the domestic sources and a strong base of return filers, something that it has been trying to achieve for several months.
Officials acknowledged that in October, there had been some slowdown in GST collections from imports and called for a need to keep a close watch. The government is hoping to close the year with higher than budgeted GST collections, while acknowledging that there may be challenges on the customs front.
“The steps taken by us to improve GST filings have helped and that is reflecting in the good numbers. This is in addition to the measures to check misuse through fake invoices or taxpayers vanishing after claiming input tax credit,” a senior officer told TOI.
The government sees numbers from sectors such as automobiles, housing and core sectors (such as iron, cement, coal) as positive but is watching developments in the hospitality and airline sectors, despite an improvement in the sentiment and business over the last few months.
With sectoral performance providing comfort, the Central Board for Indirect Taxes and Customs is asking its field offices to step up efforts on audit and scrutiny to ensure that there is no misuse, either by way of genuineness of credits or the quantum. “These steps may not be visible but are crucial to ensure that we move towards making Rs 1.5 lakh crore the new normal,” an officer said.
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