19.12.2022: Centre, state govts to focus on efforts to widen GST base: FM Sitharaman

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated on Saturday that the central and state governments will now concentrate on efforts to broaden the Goods and Services Tax (GST) base, indicating that this would be a major strategy in keeping revenue collections at a robust level.

After the GST Council's Saturday virtual meeting, Sitharaman addressed the media.

In response to a query about how to maintain revenue growth in the wake of a normalising economic growth rate, the minister noted that many members of the GST Council believe that the tax base needs to be expanded even further. This includes increasing the number of GST-registered organisations. There are currently 14 million GST-registered entities.

The minister, who also chairs the Council, said that in the recent past, the monthly GST income collection has exceeded Rs 1.4 trillion. Since March through November, the total GST revenue receipts for the central government and the states have exceeded this threshold nine times in a row, with collections in April reaching a record high of Rs 1.68 trillion.

Despite the fact that this topic was not covered in the Council meeting on Saturday, Sitharaman claimed that not just she but many other members of the GST Council now believe that the tax base needs to be further expanded.

“We need revenue, we are getting it. We are trying to stabilise it at some number and all, that is there. Instead of I speculating on what that number would be which you can comfortably place your finger and say that is what is for sure going to be the average tax collection, I think there should now be—and most of us agree–we should at every level, attempt to widen the GST base. So, the focus will be on how much effort all of us are putting towards that so that the states plus the Centre put an effort consciously to widen the tax base,” the minister explained.

Vivek Johri, the chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), stated on the sidelines that expanding the tax base would entail expanding the scope of data collection and combining data from various sources to find those who should be included in the tax base but aren't.

Source: Business Standard 

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