Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections in December 2020 showed a record year-on-year growth of 11.6 per cent to Rs 1.15 lakh crore, the highest monthly GST revenue collected so far.
According to the experts, GST collections peaked in December due to festive sales, restocking and imports among others.
Festive sales in November and restocking by retailers ahead of Diwali festivities could be one of the reasons as to why the collections where higher in December. The growth in GST collection gives confidence about the growth in the economy and rise in business activities, say experts.
Meanwhile according to the government GST collections due to domestic transactions registered 8 per cent growth while GST from imports rose by 27 per cent. GST from imports in December 2020 was Rs 27,050 crore, almost Rs 6,000 crore more than GST on imports (Rs 21,295 crore) in December 2019.
Indicating that the international trade is coming back to normal there is an increase in GST collection on imports. However, the sector-wise import data would throw light on the linkages of imported goods with domestic manufacturing and exports.
Further, some experts also attribute this growth to the heightened vigilance by the revenue department against evasion. The government has been going after non-filers and fake billers with a vengeance for the past few months.
In October and November 2020, 1.63 lakh registrations were cancelled due to non-filing of GSTR-3B returns for more than six months. Besides, Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) and CGST Commissionerates arrested 164 fraudsters, including five chartered accountants and a woman in a nationwide drive over a month. They also filed 1,768 cases against 5,745 GSTIN entities.
Steady increase in the number of GST returns (GSTR 3B) filed is encouraging, say experts, which is 87 lakh in December 2020 against around 81 lakh in December 2019.
However a breakup is sought of the GST collected through the filing of returns and GST collected through recovery drives initiated by the Department of Revenue Intelligence and DGGSTI authorities as it would give a better picture of the extent of economic recovery.