NEW DELHI: Amid fears of fiscal slippage, the Central government is mounting pressure on tax officials. They are given a target of collecting Rs 1.10 lakh crore per month of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“The latest communication from revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said the tax target for the coming months has been fixed at Rs 1.10 lakh crore. For the peak collection month, it has been set at Rs 1.25 lakh crore,” said sources in finance ministry. While the Centre’s Budget Estimate for 2018-19 had been Rs 7.43 lakh crore, the actual collection was 22 per cent lower at Rs 5.81 lakh crore.
The estimated monthly GST collection for the current fiscal is Rs 1.18 lakh crore, while the average monthly collection during the last seven months has been less than Rs 1 lakh crore. The Centre is thus staring at a shortfall of Rs 2 lakh crore for the year. However, with one quarter still left in the fiscal, it is in no mood to go soft on the collection.
The revenue secretary, who spoke to officials of both direct and indirect tax departments, said that sharp cut in corporate tax should not be an excuse for lower revenue. Senior officers of Central Board of Direct Taxes and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs have been directed to go on field visits to ensure that the collection level increases in the remaining period of the fiscal. Also, data from GST returns information will be shared with the income- tax department for close scrutiny.
Emphasising on stricter compliance under GST, the officers have been directed to cancel registration and blocking of input tax credits for defaulters. This comes just ahead of the GST Council meeting, where falling GST collection is likely to be the top agenda. Sources claim that the fitment committee had suggested taxing of many items that are currently in the exempted list, while increasing cess on items that are basically luxury and sin goods. It also suggested tinkering of the existing 5 per cent tax slab.