21.11.2022: CBIC Chief urges taxmen to be extra vigilant to ensure no indirect tax slippage

Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Custom (CBIC) Chairman Vivek Johri has ‘urged’ taxmen to keep a close watch on revenue position and ensure no slippage. Meanwhile, States are taking CBIC notification forward and acting against non-filers of GST returns.

The total indirect tax collections are estimated to be ₹13.30-lakh crore in 2022-23 which includes ₹7.80-lakh crore from GST, ₹2.13-lakh crore from Custom and ₹3.35-lakh crore from Central Excise.

In a communication to all the officers and staff of CBIC, Johri wrote: “I would like to urge you to keep a close watch on the revenue position and ensure there are no slippages. You may like to closely monitor the trends to ensure that there is no letup in the collection of due revenue.”

The collection from GST has been good. CGST collection grew by over 28 per cent during the first six months. However, collection from custom duty is down by around 6.9 per cent and central excise by over 18.5 per cent.

Global impact

The volatile global situation is affecting international trade. While exports are down, import growth is also not very consistent, impacting revenue from customs duty. At the same time, the government lowered Central Excise on petrol and diesel twice in the last 12 months, first last November and second in May this year.

Altogether, these cuts are likely to have an impact of over ₹2-lakh crore annually on the Central Excise collection. It is important to note here that Central Excise is levied at a specific rate which means a rise in crude will not impact excise collection.

Officials say that the government has little option for Central Excise and Custom, which is why much focus is on GST. And in GST, the Centre alone cannot do everything. The role of States is very critical which is why the latter are taking steps to further improve compliance to boost collection.

In this regard, the Centre notified amendments in late September in GST law made through Finance Act 2022. Taking a cue from this, States are issuing steps with Tamil Nadu being the latest.

Steps to follow

In a circular titled ‘Procedures for initiation of action on non-filers of returns’, the State’s Commercial Tax Department reiterated responsibilities and procedures to be followed in respect of non-filers. 

It has been said that though 90 per cent of the revenue is derived from 37,740 taxpayers, the fact remains that at the end of every month, revenue is realised from only 90 per cent of these taxpayers.

Timely collection of returns is the most important item of work in the territorial division. “From 20th to 30th of every month, priority is to ensure that all returns of these taxpayers who are contributing 90 per cent of the revenue are filed before the end of the month,” it said.

Keeping this in mind, the circular said that every proper officer has to contact the defaulter over the phone and emails for reminding to file the pending returns.

The Deputy Commissioners shall personally watch the filing of returns by the top 100 taxpayers of their respective zones contributing 90 per cent of the revenue and “for any default in filing of such returns, the Deputy Commissioner concerned would be held responsible”.

The Territorial Joint Commissioners will also closely monitor the progress of return filing by the top taxpayer and see that the returns are filed on time.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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