Only 6-8% of total claims for pre-GST stocks are ineligible: FM Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addresses the media after GST meeting at Vigyan Bhavan, in New Delhi
Around 6 to 8 per cent of the total claims for pre-GST stocks have been found to be ineligible, against much higher figures reported earlier, according to finance ministry officials.  

The finance ministry is verifying the figures for transitional credit to be given to assessees under the goods and services tax (GST).  

Initially, it was reported that transitional credit of around Rs 600 billion was claimed, of which only a little over Rs 120 billion worth of claims were eligible. The total amount claimed was at that point estimated at Rs 1.3 trillion as even those who did not have receipts could claim part of these pre-GST stocks.  

When contacted, Central Board of Excise and Customs chairperson Vanaja N Sarna said, “There is a verification on for transitional credit sought. As much as 85 per cent of the verification has been done. It apprears that ineligible credit is not more than 6-8 per cent.” 

There has been no claim linked to telecom towers, though initially it appeared that Rs 200 billion was under that head alone. 

In fact, there has been a wide gap between CGST (Central GST) and SGST (State GST) collection numbers due to transitional credit. For instance, CGST collection figures ranged between Rs 140 billion and a little lower than Rs 150 billion a month in the first quarter of the GST roll-out. SGST collections, on the other hand, ranged between Rs 210 billion and Rs 230 billion. 

The government issues the collection figures after deducting claims.  

Ideally, these two figures should be the same. This point was also raised in the Economic Survey for 2017-18. 

The Survey highlighted that there was potential for 12 per cent growth in GST revenue in the current fiscal year to Rs 10.9 trillion if a couple of additional factors were taken into account. One of these was equalising state GST with central GST. 

The Survey said the GST revenue mop-up had been ‘surprisingly robust’ despite ‘teething difficulties’,  bolstered by sharp growth in the tax base. 

It is difficult to compare the projections for CGST and IGST collections given in the Budget for 2018-19 with those of the previous year since GST was rolled out from the second quarter of 2017-18. Indirect tax collections are projected to grow 19.2 per cent at Rs 1.1 trillion in 2018-19. 

Annual GST collection for 2017-18, based on the five-month average till November, was Rs 10.5 trillion, which is 8.2 per cent higher than indirect tax collections last year of the Centre and states combined, said the Survey.

The indirect tax base grew 50 per cent since the GST roll-out, led by a large increase in registrations, especially by small enterprises. The demonetisation of high-value currency notes in November 2016 resulted in a widening of the taxpayer base, the Survey said. 

As of December 2017, there were 9.8 million unique GST registrants, slightly more than the indirect tax registrants in the earlier system. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have the largest number of GST registrants.