Govt sets Rs 1.1 trillion as monthly GST target for tax officials

Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey
The department of revenue has estimated the target for goods and services tax (GST) collection at Rs 1.1 trillion a month for December-March, 2019-20, with one of the months yielding Rs 1.25 trillion, which is more ambitious than the actual collection so far. 

Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey held a video-conference with members of direct and indirect tax boards and field formations on Monday and asked direct tax officials to ensure that the target of Rs 13.5 trillion from corporation and personal income tax as set in the Budget Estimates for 2019-20 were met despite the government overhauling the corporation tax regime. 

The corporation tax rate cuts are estimated to hit the exchequer by Rs 1.45 trillion, but it was clarified to the officers that this should not be taken as an excuse for a lower direct tax collection target, finance ministry sources said.

In a recent interview to a news channel, Pandey had said the department was working on the truncated target of Rs 11.0 trillion of direct tax collection after taking into account a Rs 1.45-trillion hit from the cuts. 

Four of the eight months in the current financial year have delivered less than Rs 1 trillion GST collection and the mop-up has not reached Rs 1.10 trillion in any of the months.

In fact, the revenue augmentation committee of officers would give a presentation to the GST Council on Wednesday about the possible scenarios to increase revenues.

Sources said the GST officers were told to make sure that if the GST returns are not filed by the taxpayers, strict action such as blocking of e- way bill, blocking of input tax credits and cancellation of registration may be taken. 
The industry and traders have been advised to ask its suppliers to timely file their GST returns failing which buyers may not able to get input tax credits on those supplies for which tax has not been paid by their suppliers.

Also, the data from GST return information will be provided to income tax departments so that the cases of any suppression of turnover and income tax can be detected and proper tax can be recovered. Further, a drive will also be conducted to recover past arrears during the next three months.

The sources said the revenue department is taking concerted measures to augment revenue collections for the next four months and has exhorted its senior officers, including principal chief commissioners and chief commissioners to achieve tax targets both for direct and indirect taxes. 

The officers were urged to make field visits on a regular basis every week.

The revenue secretary will himself be visiting across the regions every weekend to monitor and peruse the collections efforts, sources added. Officers were particularly urged to ensure that during such field enforcement drive and visits, no taxpayer is overreached or troubled.

It is also learnt that the information of GST and income tax and other financial dealings will be shared among departments and the tax evaders will be brought to book.  If any taxpayer has missed out on sharing correct tax information, he will be asked to file the revised return.

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