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Entire GST shortfall will be compensated, says Centre

Entire GST shortfall will be compensated, says Centre

States and Union Territories will get full compensation for the shortfall in GST collection this year, the Centre reiterated on Monday. It made it clear that it will be irrespective of the fact whether the shortfall is on account of GST implementation or on account of the Covid pandemic. “It has never been the stand of the Union Finance Minister that the loss of revenue due to Covid would not be compensated. The Central government has, time and again, committed that the entitlement of the States would always be for full compensation. The entire compensation on account of the shortfall in collection of GST will be paid and honoured,” a senior Finance Ministry official said.

Total GST revenue shortfall during FY 2020-21 is estimated at ₹3-lakh crore. Since collection through the compensation cess is likely to be ₹65,000 crore, the net shortfall could be ₹2.35-lakh crore. Out of this, based on 10 per cent nominal growth and other assumptions, the shortfall on account of GST implementation and pandemic are ₹97,000 crore and ₹1.38-lakh crore, respectively. The Centre has proposed two options for States – borrow ₹97,000 crore through a special window or borrow the entire ₹2.35-lakh crore from the open market.

According to sources, working out revenue shortfall on account of GST implementation is just a mechanism to assess how much of the shortfall should be met by borrowing and how much could be deferred. Borrowing for meeting the entire shortfall when the private sector is struggling to stand back on its feet could hurt them badly. If States go for option 1 and borrow ₹97,000 crore, it does not mean they will have to forego the remaining compensation. The remaining compensation will be paid to states after the above borrowing has been fully repaid. Therefore, “where is the doubt about the Centre not meeting its commitment,” asked the official.

Under the GST law, the compensation cess is a tax owned by the states and under Article 292 of the Constitution of India, the Centre can borrow on the security of its own taxes and resources which is Consolidated Fund of India. It cannot borrow in the security of the tax which it does not own, the official explained.

Source: thehindubusinessline.

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GST collection drops for second month in Aug to Rs 86,449 crore

GST collection drops for second month in Aug to Rs 86,449 crore

The GST collection declined for the second consecutive month in August to Rs 86,449 crore, the finance ministry said on Tuesday.

On year-on-year basis, the August collection was 12 per cent lower compared to Rs 98,202 crore mopped up in the same month last year.

Of the gross collection, Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) stood at Rs 15,906 crore, State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) Rs 21,064 crore, Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Rs 42,264 crore (including Rs 19,179 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess Rs 7,215 crore (including Rs 673 crore collected on import of goods).

Tax experts said the revenue numbers indicate that domestic economic activity is picking up and the drop in the collection is mainly due to reduced imports.

In a statement, the finance ministry said the government has settled Rs 18,216 crore to Central GST and Rs 14,650 crore to State GST from Integrated GST as regular settlement.

“The total revenue earned by Central Government and the State Governments after regular settlement in the month of August, 2020 is Rs 34,122 crore for CGST and Rs 35,714 crore for the SGST,” it added.

The revenues for August are 88 per cent of the GST collected in the same month last year. During the month, the revenues from import of goods were 77 per cent and the revenues from domestic transaction (including import of services) were 92 per cent of the revenues from these sources during the same month last year, the ministry said.

It further said that taxpayers with turnover less than Rs 5 crore have been permitted to file GST returns till September.

The GST collections have faltered since the beginning of the current fiscal as COVID-19-induced lockdown hampered economic activity.

The revenue in April was Rs 32,172 crore, May (Rs 62,151 crore), June (Rs 90,917 crore) and July (Rs 87,422 crore).

Leader (Indirect Tax) Pratik Jain said the trend in the last couple of months show collections seem to have stabilised at around 10 per cent lower than corresponding month last year.

“As things are opening up gradually, the collection is likely to be progressively better in coming months,” Jain said.

India Partner M S Mani said the collections are on the recovery path and GST collections on domestic transactions just 8 per cent lower than the same month last year indicate revival of economic activities.

“The state-wise data of GST collections indicates that the revival process has resulted in marginal collection increases in some states like Rajasthan and UP, marginal reductions in states like Haryana and Gujarat with significant dips in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” Mani said.

Tax Partner Abhishek Jain said a significant part of the dip is attributable to imports, which has witnessed a decline as a result of reduced international trade.

“Also, domestic collections having attained 92 per cent year-on-year for operations in July is a sign of economic recovery post upliftment of lockdown,” he added.

Chairman and Founder Kapil Rana said: “The GST collection data demonstrates two things – domestic consumption is strongly overcoming the effect of the pandemic, secondly, people are showing more reliance on domestic products, which is pushing the domestic consumption hence the revenue collection”.

Source: Times-Of-India.

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Centre gives states two options to meet GST compensation cess shortfall

Centre gives states two options to meet GST compensation cess shortfall

The Centre on Thursday offered two options to states to compensate them amid inadequate cess collections under the goods and services tax (GST) regime.

One was an offer of a special window to states, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to the tune of Rs 95,000 crore at a reasonable interest rate. The other was for states to borrow Rs 2.35 trillion from the market, with the RBI as a facilitator.

However, the burden of repayment will not be on states. The timeline for cess imposed on sin and luxury goods will be extended beyond June 30, 2022 (up to which states are Constitutionally guaranteed compensation), to help service the debt.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the media that the Centre would facilitate the borrowing, by talking to the RBI. This is to ensure individual states do not rush to the market and raise bond yields.

According to government estimates, Rs 97,000 crore is the shortfall in compensation, as given in a formula under the law, with Rs 2.35 trillion the overall deficit factoring in the Covid situation.

Finance Secretary A B Pandey said collections from the compensation cess were estimated at Rs 65,000 crore for FY21. While the target for compensation under the law is Rs 1.62 trillion, accounting for the impact of Covid-19, the requirement stands at Rs 3 trillion, he added.

The Centre will provide details to states in a couple of days, and they will return to the next proposed Council meeting with their choice, said Sitharaman.
The borrowing mechanism will be there for FY21, after which it will be reviewed in April 2021, said Pandey.

States are guaranteed full compensation for the first five years of the GST regime in case they fail to record 14 per cent growth in revenues from GST on the base year of FY16. They are yet to get a rupee of compensation in FY21 against the requirement of Rs 1.5 trillion for the first four months, said Pandey.

Asked about the issue of raising cess or expanding the same, Sitharaman said the matter was not discussed in the meeting.

As to what the incentive is for states to go for just Rs 97,000 crore and not the entire Rs 2.35 trillion, the FM said it was up to them because some may not like to borrow the amount of shortfall caused by ‘act of God’ Covid-19.

Further, she disclosed that states would be given additional unconditional leeway of 0.5 percentage points of the GDP, as any additional borrowing will lead to fiscal deficit concerns.

States have already been given an unconditional 0.5 percentage point leeway over and above the 3 per cent under the Atmanirbhar Bharat package. Overall, they have been given a two-percentage-point flexibility, though the remaining 1.5 percentage points are based on riders like initiating power sector reforms, and taking steps towards ‘one nation one ration card’.

The GST Council meeting was called to discuss the single-point agenda of compensating states. The Centre also took the opinion of Attorney General K K Venugopal, who advised against taking recourse to the consolidated fund of India for compensating states. Governments — both the Centre and states — collected Rs 21,747 crore from the compensation cess in the first four months of FY21, which was two-thirds of the Rs 32,796 crore mopped up in the corresponding period of FY20.

In fact, collections were muted in the last financial year too. The collection was Rs 95,000 crore but states were given Rs 1.65 trillion after dipping into excess collections from cess of previous

Source: Business-Standard.

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GST Council to discuss AG opinion on compensation: Nirmala Sitharaman

GST Council to discuss AG opinion on compensation: Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the Attorney General’s view on GST compensation was sought after consultation with the states and a meeting of the GST Council would be held to discuss the legal opinion.

The finance minister was responding to a question on apprehensions raised by certain states about the reported AG opinion on GST compensation.

“This matter was discussed in the GST Council meeting when it met last time. Members expressed their views on the matter and it was decided that legal opinion should be taken from AG,” Sitharaman told reporters.

The GST Council, chaired by the Union finance minister and comprising state counterparts, had in March decided to seek views from the AG, who is the chief legal officer of the government, on the legality of market borrowing by the Council to make good the shortfall in compensation fund.

“The opinion has come…we will hold an exclusive GST Council meeting on the issue of compensation,” Sitharaman said, adding that the date of the meeting will be decided shortly.

According to sources, the Attorney General has opined that there is no obligation on the central government to pay the GST compensation shortfall to the states and GST Council has to decide on ways to make good the shortfall in compensation fund.

The payment of GST compensation to states became an issue after revenues from imposition of cess started dwindling since August 2019 and the Centre had to dive in to the excess cess amount collected during 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law, states were guaranteed to be compensated bi-monthly for any loss of revenue in the first five years of the GST implementation from July 1, 2017. The shortfall is calculated assuming a 14 per cent annual growth in GST collections by states over the base year of 2015-16.

Under the GST structure, taxes are levied under 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent slabs. On top of the highest tax slab, a cess is levied on luxury, sin and demerit goods and the proceeds from the same are used to compensate states for any revenue loss.

The Centre had released over Rs 1.65 lakh crore in 2019-20 as GST compensation. However, the amount of cess collected during the year 2019-20 was Rs 95,444 crore. The compensation payout amount was Rs 69,275 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 41,146 crore in 2017-18.

Source: The-Times-of-India

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GST mop-up in July at Rs 87,422 crore, slips from June collections

GST mop-up in July at Rs 87,422 crore, slips from June collections

The government collected goods and services tax (GST) of Rs 87,422 crore for July, lower than that collected in June, indicating a stability in collections, analysts said.

“During the previous month, a large number of taxpayers also paid taxes pertaining to February, March and April 2020 on account of the relief provided due to COVID-19,” the finance ministry said in a statement Saturday.

“Taxpayers with turnover less than Rs 5 core continue to enjoy relaxation in filing of returns till September 2020,” the ministry added.

The revenues for July 2020 are 86% of the GST revenues in the same month last year. During the month, the revenues from import of goods were 84% and the revenues from domestic transaction (including import of services) were 96% of the revenues from these sources during the same month last year.

“A collection approximate to 86% of last year does showcase quite a significant economic recovery from the pandemic though a bit of it could be on account of pent up demand. With economic activities increasing, the collections should hopefully witness aligning with estimates soon,” said Abhishek Jain, Tax Partner.

Of the total collections in July, Central Good & Services Tax CGST is Rs 16,147crore, State GST is Rs 21,418 crore, Integrated GST is Rs 42,592 crore (including Rs 20,324 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess is Rs 7,265 crore (including Rs 807 crore collected on import of goods).

Source: Economic-Times.

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Central Government Released Rs 1.65 Lakh Crore As GST Compensation To States In FY20

Central Government Released Rs 1.65 Lakh Crore As GST Compensation To States In FY20

The central government’s payout to states as compensation towards goods and services tax for the year ended March more than doubled over the last year as a result of slowing economic activity.

The compensation to states was Rs 1,65,302 crore, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement, adding the GST compensation cess, collected by the Centre, stood at Rs 95,444 crore. In 2018-19, the GST cess collected and compensation released to states were Rs 95,081 crore and Rs 69,275 crore, respectively.

The virus outbreak and the world’s most stringent lockdown lasting over more than two months aggravated an already-slowing economy by obliterating consumption—which nearly contributes 60% to the economy. As a result, India’s economy is widely expected to witness its first contraction in nearly four decades.

The central government compensates states bi-monthly as they lost powers to levy taxes such as value added tax with the rollout of GST. The compensation is guaranteed for five years, and is calculated at a growth rate of 14% keeping 2015-16 as the base year. With declining GST collections last year following a demand-led slowdown, the government had stopped releasing compensation bi-monthly due to inadequate collections from GST compensation cess that’s levied on sin or demerit goods.

Since the cess collected was about Rs 70,000 crore less than the requirement to compensate states, the amount collected as excess in 2017-18 and 2018-19 of about Rs 47,271 crore was used for the same. Besides, Rs 33,412 crore—that was transferred to Consolidated Fund of India—as balance IGST in 2017-18, was also utilised to compensate states, the statement said.

The amount of compensation to be given to the states is going to increase substantially this year, Rajat Bose, a partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co., said. That, he said, would be on account of muted GST collections as the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted consumption.

The government may have to resort to market borrowing to fulfill its commitment towards compensating states for losses due to GST, Bose told BloombergQuint.

The government is exploring various options to adequately compensate states that involve raising money from the markets with a guarantee from the central government or by extending compensation levy beyond five years and continuing to compensate states with the collections.

No Compensation For Five States
Maharashtra received the highest compensation of Rs 19,233 crore in 2019-20 followed by Karnataka that got Rs 18,628 crore, the statement said. Meghalaya received the lowest compensation of Rs 157 crore. States such as Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh reported surplus collection and didn’t need compensation from the Centre.

Source: Bloomberg-Quint

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Public limited companies just 0.6% of GST taxpayer base but pay 35% of revenue

Public limited companies just 0.6% of GST taxpayer base but pay 35% of revenue

Public limited companies, which account for only 0.6% (72,151) of total GST-registered taxpayers, contribute about 35% to the GST revenue collection, data released by the GST Network showed. About 1.2 crore taxpayers are currently under the GST ambit.

Similarly, only 0.2% taxpayers are public sector undertakings but contribute above 9% of revenue under GST. Other top revenue contributors are firms constituted as private limited companies — about 6.75 lakh or 5.9% of total taxpayers have paid 27.5% of the revenue

The largest chunk of taxpayers — 80.2% — identify as proprietorship, and they pay about 13.4% of the total revenue collection. In terms of turnover, about 7% taxpayers fall under the Rs 5 crore and above category but pay nearly 81% of total taxes. (see chart)

taxpayers

Similarly, large taxpayers above the Rs 5-crore turnover threshold upload nearly 6,500 invoices per taxpayer per month compared with just 30 invoices if all taxpayers are taken into account. Invoices are required to be uploaded by GST assessees with the GSTR-1 Return which has details of outwards sales by the businesses.

Source: Financial-Express.


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June GST collections stand at Rs 90,917 crore

June GST collections stand at Rs 90,917 crore

Goods and service tax (GST) collections for June 2020 clocked Rs 90,917 crore at gross levels, 9% lower than the same month last year, the department of revenue said Wednesday.

The collections are higher than those recorded in April and May – the peak months of lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic – where GST collection for April was Rs 32,294 crore and Rs 62,009 crore for May.

However, for both months, the collections were lower than those in 2019. Collections in April were down 72% on-year and 38% down on-year in May.

For the month of June, of total collections of Rs 90,917 crore, CGST was Rs 18,980 crore, SGST was Rs 23,970 crore, IGST was Rs 40,302 crore, including Rs 15,709 crore collected on import of goods and Cess was Rs 7,665 crore, including Rs 607 crore collected on import of goods.

The government said GST collection for the first quarter of the year was 41% less than the revenue collected during the same quarter last year, but a large number of taxpayers still have time to file their return for the month of May, 2020 till early this month.

“Since government has allowed a relaxed time schedule for filing of GST returns, returns of the month of April, March as well as some returns of February got filed during June, 2020 and some returns of May, 2020, which would have otherwise got filed in June, will get filed during first few days of July,” the department said.

Source: Economic-Times.

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GST mop-up hit by Covid, ‘act of God’: Centre

GST mop-up hit by Covid, ‘act of God’: Centre

Amid the chorus for GST compensation from states, the Centre has conveyed that there is a need to factor in the “abnormal situation” due to the coronavirus pandemic, which it described as an “act of God”, indicating that there was no insurance for 14% growth in GST collections during these times.

Three years ago, while introducing GST, the Centre had promised to compensate states for “revenue loss”, if collection growth was under 14% in a year. “Compensation is a larger issue. The Centre is not going back on its promise, but should it not enforce the force majeure clause since this is an event triggered by things beyond anyone’s control? It is an ‘act of God’,” an official told TOI.

Data presented at the GST Council meeting on Friday showed that GST collections had shot up to over Rs 62,000 crore in May — almost twice the level seen in April — but 38% lower than a year ago. A large part of the sequential jump was attributed to payments for April spilling over into May given the extended deadline. In any case, the actual numbers will only be known after a few months as the Centre is not enforcing the payment and filing deadline.

While collections during April and May have been around 45% of monthly average (of a shade over Rs 1 lakh crore), is it fair for the states to demand 114%?” said a source. “Haven’t their VAT, excise and property tax collections suffered,” added another source.

The Centre has, however, agreed to look into the issue of compensating states after finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman suggested in March that the Council could look at the option of market borrowings. On Friday, her party colleague and Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi is learnt to have pointed this out.

A state finance secretary told TOI that “invoking the force majeure clause” was not provided for in the statutes, although the Centre has made it clear that the GST Council needs to arrange for the compensation. “Technically, they (Centre) are right. They are in no position to pay, given that there was a shortfall last year too,” the official said.

A state finance minister conceded that it may not be possible for the Centre to compensate if a state fails to achieve 14% annual growth in GST collections. “Pre-lockdown too, there was a massive gap because 14% growth was assured. The gap will rise given the economic situation,” the minister said.

In fact, during the GST Council meeting in Goa too, the issue had been flagged since the average GDP growth had slowed down from the earlier highs. “To achieve 14% GST growth, with GDP growth of 6% is tougher than at 8-9%,” a state revenue secretary added.

Source: Economic-Times

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Government gives leeway to MSMEs from penalties, interest for GST non-compliance

Government gives leeway to MSMEs from penalties, interest for GST non-compliance

The government on Friday announced some leeway for small and medium companies in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) framework during the GST council meeting. The relief came in the form of reduced penalties and intrest for small and medium companies.

The government has announced relief by the way of waiver or reduced late fee and interest for delayed filings and payment of taxes by the dealers who have a turnover of less than Rs 5 crore. Tax experts say that many companies were unable to comply with the regulations and slapping them with interest and penalties was a double whammy for them.

The government also allowed tax credit on the corporate social responsibility, which many say would go a long way at a time when many companies are looking to spend more on Covid related relief work.

“Allowing input tax credit for goods and services used in CSR expenditure, GST paid on additional health insurance premiums due to COVID-19, masks, hand sanitizers etc. to be used in offices, was one relaxation/ clarification that the businesses were looking forward to. Guess, one would now need to wait for the next meeting, to get clarity on this critical business expenditure,” said Harpreet Singh, Partner – Indirect Tax, KPMG in India.

Industry trackers say that the government is trying to do a balancing act as it needs more revenue through GST but also doesn’t want to create hurdles for companies in terms of compliance. The government is worried that it would face a major shortfall in revenue collections due to Covid pandemic at a time when even companies are facing major issues with their revenues and cash flows.

“The Government is faced with a tough balancing act. On one hand, it needs robust GST collections to help meet its regular plus the extraordinary nature of expenses during the pandemic. On the other hand, businesses are looking for reliefs from the Government to help them tide the major disruptions, loss of revenue and uncertainties. The announcements made in today’s GST council meeting are a reflection of the tight balancing act that the government has on hand,” said Saloni Roy, Senior Director.

All the announcements are set to benefit the smaller organisations more than the larger ones, say experts.

Abhishek Jain, Tax Partner, said, “While there was not much for larger businesses, the late fee waivers and additional moratorium for smaller businesses is quite a welcome move. With the current financial flu, smaller businesses were aggressively seeking stimulus and some of their requests have been well considered by the council.

Source: Economic-Times.

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