AI, data analytics help GST collection, loopholes being plugged: Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that GST collections are growing and will continue to do as the Government is taking several steps, including usage of technologies and plugging loopholes.

She said during the last three months the GST collections have exceeded Rs one trillion every month.

Speaking at the GST Council meeting, Sitharaman said the state finance ministers' concerns that tax revenue was not increasing is now being addressed and the loopholes are being plugged.

GST collections during November and December 2019 were about Rs 1.04 trillion and Rs 1.03 trillion respectively, and Rs 1.11 trillion in January 2020, said Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey.

The Centre is using data analytics, artificial intelligence, data from Income Tax filings, exports and imports to identify where taxes are not being paid.

Pointing out that there are about 12 million entities registered under GST, Pandey said red-flag reports are prepared every month and SMS messages are sent to those named therein.

Pandey said if the difference between the tax paid and tax due is large, then both, the taxpayers and tax officials are notified. “This has resulted in higher tax collections,” he said.

On pending GST dues of Rs 4,000 crore to Tamil Nadu, Sitharaman said the government would be settling the issue in two months, adding that Tamil Nadu isn't the only state with pending dues.

On bringing petrol and diesel under the GST regime she said the GST Council consisting of state  Finance Ministers has to decide on that and once the members agree then it would be done.

Pandey also said once the Finance Bill is passed by Parliament, the government will put out the procedure to be followed under the Viwad Se Viswas scheme for settling pending direct tax issues.

He added that appeals filed by the tax department of the government against taxpayers would then be withdrawn. Near 490,000 disputes will be addressed.

On the new tax slab rates that would turn India from a saving economy to spending economy, Sitharaman said that an earning individual with additional money in his hands can decide what to do with it and the government needn't guide his savings through tax deductions.

According to her, it is just eight days since the budget for 2020-21 was presented in Parliament. It will take some time to see whether demand-boosting measures stated in the budget yield results.

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