The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s efforts to sort out the sundry issues plaguing taxpayers during the initial rollout and the steady reduction in tax rates seems to be paying off in terms of compliance and tax collections. As many as 43.67 lakh businesses have filed the initial GSTR-3B returns for October, the highest monthly return filing within due date since the new tax was introduced on July 1, according to a GST Network statement. That’s around 56% of the registered taxpayers. Punjab saw over 73% taxpayers filing GSTR-3B returns, the highest among all the states.
In fact, there has been a steady increase in the number of taxpayers filing the initial sales return. Over 39 lakh returns were filed within due date for September compared to 28.46 lakh for August. This can be attributed to two major factors. “One is greater awareness and the fact that GSTR-3B is a simpler form. The second is that the GSTN portal has been performing much better, especially [for] GSTR-3B and GSTR-1,” said Pratik Jain, leader, indirect tax, PwC India in a quote to The Hindu. Incidentally, GST registrations overall has crossed 11 crore from around 60 lakh in late August.
Of course, given the typical Indian mindset of dithering till the last minute, November 20-the last date for filing the summary returns for the previous month without interest-saw over 14.7 lakh taxpayers log into the GST Network portal; a new record for maximum returns filed in a single day.
“But the gap between eligible taxpayers and those filing returns by the deadline has continued to hover around 30 lakh, which would be a concern for the government,” said Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY to The Financial Express. Nonetheless, the numbers should fan the government’s confidence that GST will widen the tax base and yield higher revenue than ever before.