04.07.2023: June GST collections a major improvement, expect higher figures in future: CBIC Chairman Vivek Johri

With the GST (goods and services tax) collection for June 2023 amounting to Rs 1.61 lakh crore, Vivek Johri, Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), is optimistic of even better numbers in the near future. This figure signifies a significant improvement compared to the GST collections of the previous year.

“I definitely expect an improvement. Although this itself is a major improvement in revenue collections compared to the previous year, it denotes a growth rate of about 11 percent. But I expect to do better in the remaining part of the year.”

Johri highlighted that the recent rationalisation efforts and the removal of exemptions undertaken in the past 2-3 GST Council meetings have contributed to this positive trend.

However, the awaited report from the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the rationalisation of the overall GST rate structure may take some time to materialise.

While the fitment panel has yet to address the issue of GST on cement, it is unlikely to be discussed at the upcoming July GST Council meeting. On the other hand, the GoM report on horse racing, casinos, and online gaming is expected to be deliberated in the next meeting.

The rate and legal structure of taxing these sectors will be based on the GST Council's decisions.

Additionally, CBIC's ongoing crackdown on fake invoices and fraudulent input tax credit has yielded significant results. The detection drive, launched jointly by the Centre and states in May, has already exposed 24,000 fake GST invoices and identified 8,000 cases of fraudulent input tax credit claims, amounting to Rs 63,000 crore.

As part of this special two-month drive, around 60,000 units have been selected for verification, with approximately 55,000 units already inspected. Shockingly, 25 percent of the verified units were found to be fake.

Furthermore, the parallel detection drive conducted by CBIC independently discovered 1,400 fake GST invoices, accounting for Rs 3,800 crore in fake input tax credit claims.

Johri emphasised the adverse effects of fake billing on legitimate taxpayers and reiterated CBIC's commitment to employing technology to identify and deter such fraudulent practices. He issued a warning to those involved in using fake or bogus invoices and input tax credit to make quick money, urging them to be cautious.

In a separate investigation, CBIC has initiated probes against around 30 insurance companies, including 15 life insurers and 15 general insurers. The investigations revealed that many insurance companies have either used or received fake input tax credit from non-existent units.

Completed probes against 15 insurance companies have so far uncovered wrongly-availed input tax credit amounting to Rs 2,350 crore, while ongoing investigations are expected to be concluded soon.

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