GST@6: Rs 1.5 l cr revenue new normal & many challenges ahead

Six years after rollout of the biggest indirect tax reform in India, Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue of Rs 1.5 lakh crore every month has become a new normal. Besides, tax officers are focusing on dealing with fraudsters who are adopting newer modus operandi to game the system, causing loss to the exchequer. Tax officers have started using data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to curb evasion, which was over Rs 3 lakh crore since inception of GST. It was over Rs 1 lakh crore in 2022-23. 

Think-tank Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) has said that the most critical pending GST reform is upgrade of GST Network to prevent fake supplies and fraudulent claims of Input Tax Credit (ITC). 

Data analysis and physical checks alone cannot completely solve the problem. The GSTN should enable linking of invoice-level information filed for claiming ITC by buyer (from GSTR 3B) with the information provided by input suppliers (GSTR 2A and GSTR 2B), GTRI adds.Even after six years, the GSTN is unable to connect the supplies in a value chain, resulting in significant revenue loss to the government and causing problems for honest businesses. 

Issues like rationalisation of tax rates and slabs and levying GST on petrol, diesel and ATF, are still hanging fire. Tax experts are of the opinion that the GST Council must pursue these reforms to make GST more inclusive. However, in an election year, it is unlikely that the Centre and States will go ahead with these reforms. 

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