A YEAR since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Maharashtra has recorded a significant growth in collections, according to data available with the state GST department. Continuing the growth streak the state recorded in 2017-18, revenue collections for the first quarter of 2018-19 have already increased by 39.5 per cent as compared to last year.
This year, in the first quarter (between April and June), the state has already collected Rs 35,915 crore — a 39.5 per cent jump from last year. The state accounts for almost 15 per cent of the total collections in the country, said sources. “In terms of collections, Maharashtra is slightly better than the other states,” said a senior official from the GST department.
In the financial year 2017-18, the state collected taxes worth Rs 1,15,940 crore, a 28.08 per cent rise over the previous year. Only one quarter of this period was under the Value Added Tax (VAT) regime with GST kicking in thereafter. While in the pre-GST regime, collections grew by 18.08 per cent, it was around 30 per cent higher under the GST regime.
This growth does not come as a surprise as the new tax system has expanded the taxpayer base in the state, with many new sectors brought within the GST umbrella. As of June 2018, 6.22 lakh new traders had registered under the GST regime. This is over and above the existing 7.4 lakh VAT registered traders who have also migrated to GST. Amid the consistent growth in revenue, the department has moved into the second leg of implementation and a crackdown on defaulters and evaders is expected soon.
“Over the year, we have accrued data on the traders and the returns they have filed. In the next six months, major actions are expected. Defaulters stand to lose their GST registration if the violations are significant,” said the official. Currently, tax officials are visiting the registered addresses of traders who haven’t filed returns in the past six months. “The traders could have been doing business and issued receipts to customers but if the address is incorrectly registered, we will cancel their licences,” said the official.
Officials said that the traders have now moved past the initial confusion over GST and returns filing has become streamlined. However, transporters said confusion persisted in the e-way bill system. In April, the state had implemented the first leg of the anti-evasion measure by rolling out e-way bills for inter-state transports of goods. Within two months of implementation, Maharashtra saw 1.75 lakh dealers registered on the e-way bill portal and in June, the state implemented the second leg of the e-way bills for intra-state transport of goods.
The department has set up helpdesks for dealers as well as transporters to handhold them in the registration, enrollment and generation of e-way bills. Regular training sessions and massive camps are being held by the department as well as traders’ associations. Meanwhile, a crackdown has begun on the e-way bill compliances with surprise checks.