Interim Budget eases GST estimate, collection rises to 84% of target

The government has revised the goods and services tax (GST) collection target, making it easier to achieve. In the interim Budget presented on Friday, the central GST (CGST) estimate has been revised downward by Rs 1 trillion to Rs 5.04 trillion due to shortfall in the current financial year.


With the new estimate, the overall collection to date stands at 84 per cent of the target in 10 months as against the earlier figure of 78 per cent. GST collection in January had touched Rs 1.03 trillion, taking the overall collection in April-January 2018-19 to Rs 9.71 trillion or 78 per cent of the original annual target.


The January 2019 collection was 14 per cent higher year on year. "Collections in April, October and January (for sales made in March, September and December, respectively) have been more than Rs 1 trillion.


It seems to indicate that sales in the last month of quarter are usually more, possibly because of the push by bigger corporates," said Pratik Jain, partner, indirect tax, PwC India.


Government officials indicated that the revised estimate of CGST would be met with assistance from the unapportioned integrated GST (IGST) and unused compensation cess at the end of the financial year.


Two changes in the GST laws, that came into effect on February 1, are likely to help the government achieve the target. The amendments allowed the central government to provisionally settle the remaining unallocated amount in the integrated GST and compensation cess accounts at any point of time in a financial year.


According to sources, the government expects nearly Rs 15,000 crore from unused compensation cess at the end of the financial year.


In addition, it is likely that the actual transfer to states for SGST shortfall in February and March would happen in April, officials from the finance ministry said.


"If any transfer to states either from IGST or cess is not transferred before March 31, the amount will remain in the Centre's books," a senior official said.


CGST collection in January was Rs 17,763 crore, SGST Rs 24,826 crore, IGST Rs 51,225 crore and compensation cess Rs 8,690 crore.


"The total revenue earned by the Central Government and the State Governments after regular IGST settlement in the month of December 2018 is Rs 36,107 crore for CGST and Rs 39,503 crore for the SGST," a government statement said.

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