In the backdrop of increasing incidents of fraud related to Goods and Services Tax (GST) via the filing of fake invoices and e-way bills, the Union government is planning to set up a committee of tax officers to suggest steps to deal with the problem, which has led to GST evasion worth Rs 15,278.18 crore.
“The government has been constantly tracking incidents of GST evasions. There have been many cases registered by us and the zonal officials are taking actions. Considering the steep rise in such cases, the ministry has proposed to set up a committee to take care of such incidents,” an official with Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs told this publication.
The committee will comprise of representatives from both the Centre and states. It is expected to look into the cases of GST evasion and non-filing of returns, among others.
The government has introduced e-way-bill last year as an anti-evasion measure, for moving goods worth over Rs 50,000 from one state to another. The same for intrastate (or within the state) movement was rolled out in a phased manner from April 15, 2018.
However, the tax officials have reported many cases where the traders were giving fake invoices and bills.
According to the government’s own admission, GST compliance has steadily declined over the past one year as 28.75 per cent of regular taxpayers did not file returns in November 2018, compared to 10.56 per cent in November 2017, which is an almost threefold rise in non-filers.
Among taxpayers under the composite scheme, the non-filers have increased to 25.37 per cent in the July-September period of FY19 from 15.03 per cent in the same period a year ago.
According to internal assessment, instances on bogus e-way bills based on fake invoices have been detected since April and the tax evasion involved worked out to about Rs 5,000 crore.
From April-December 2018, central tax officers have detected 3,626 cases of GST evasion or violations cases, involving Rs 15,278.18 crore.
From April this year, the council will roll out an initiative to tag e-way bills to FASTag mechanism, which will help track movement of goods.
Integration of e-way bills with FASTag would help find the location of the vehicle, and when and how many times it has crossed the NHAI’s toll plazas.