GST collection jumps to Rs 1.14 lakh crore, robust mop-up in April boosts hope


The overall goods and services tax (GST) collections for the first month of the financial year 2019-20 came in at `1.14 lakh crore, the highest level for any month since the comprehensive indirect tax’s launch in July 2017 and exactly in keeping with the Centre’s budget projection for the year. Though April collections (concerning March transactions) are typically high since businesses tend to close the year’s accounts, the government has reasons to believe that the GST collections are being taken onto a higher plane, finally.

First, for the second month in row, the collections have risen to record levels (collections in March were `1.07 lakh crore, the highest level until then); secondly, April 2019 collections were 10% higher than the level in the year-ago month and a solid 16% higher than the monthly average in 2018-19. Of course, it is an uphill task for the GST Council to sustain the April revenue level throughout the financial year.

The Centre’s GST revenue (including CGST, floating IGST and compensation cess) for FY20 is projected at `7.61 lakh crore. Assuming the state GST receipts are similar to CGST projected (`6.1 lakh crore), the total GST mop-up for the current fiscal is seen at `13.7 lakh crore.

The Centre’s GST revenue in FY19 was around `5.8 lakh crore against the revised estimate (RE) of `6.43 lakh crore. The RE was a neat `1 lakh crore lower than the budget estimate (BE) made at the beginning of the year. Amid this massive shortfall, what came as a relief to the Centre was some `40,000 crore surplus accrued in the compensation cess fund, half of which it could lay hands on.

During 2018-19, the average GST collection per month was `98,114 crore and the year before, the average was `89,884 crore.

The government said in a statement on Wednesday that “the Central government and the state governments after regular and provisional settlement in the month of April collected `47,533 crore for CGST and `50,776 crore for the SGST.” Also, it said, just over `9,000 has been collected as compensation cess for this period. “The total number of GSTR 3B Returns filed for the month of March up to April 30, 2019 is 72.13 lakh,” the government added.

MS Mani, partner, Deloitte India, said: “The steep increase in collections despite rate reductions during the past year indicates that GST revenues are now on the stabilisation curve. If this trend continues, the GST targets for 2019-20 would be achieved without resorting to other measures.”

Pratik Jain, partner and leader, indirect tax, PwC India, said: “Perhaps one of the reasons for this increase was also a push from businesses to their vendors for reporting sales of 2017-18, for which the last date of claiming credit coincides with GST filings for the month of March 19.”

“While this level of tax collection may be unrealistic for all future months, the government would hope that average monthly collection for FY20 is at least 10% higher than FY 19. One would now expect the monthly collection to be more that `1 lakh crore on a regular basis,” Jain added.


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