An employee writes invoice as he sits inside a stationary store in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

GST Collection For March Hits A New Record At Rs 1.13 Lakh Crore 

The goods and services tax collection for March jumped to its highest since the rollout of the nationwide sales tax.

The mop-up for March rose 10.05 percent over the previous year to Rs 1.13 lakh crore, according to a statement by the Ministry of Finance. That compares with the previous high of Rs 1,06,577 crore collected for February.

The GST revenue for March, collected in April, is also 16.05 percent higher than the monthly average of Rs 98,114 crore in the 2018-19 financial year.

One of the reasons for higher tax collection could be businesses managing to reverse ineligible input credits, especially due to mismatch with vendor returns, said Krishan Arora, partner at Grant Thornton India LLP.

MS Mani, partner at Deloitte India, attributed higher GST collection to businesses trying to achieve sales target in the last month of the financial year.

The number of summary (GSTR-3B) returns filed, however, fell. As of April 30, 72.13 lakh returns were filed for March, down from 75.95 lakh for February and 73.4 lakh for January.

The decline could be because of taxpayers not able to complete their GST reconciliation or adjustment, Arora said.

According to Abhishek Jain, a partner at EY India, a possible reason for fewer taxpayers filing returns could deferred filings by companies till year-end transactions are finalised. Still, with data analytics and the government’s constant monitoring, he said compliance has improved as compared initial months after the GST rollout.

While Rs 1.13 lakh crore was paid by taxpayers for March, the amount will reflect in government’s accounts in 2019-20 as it was collected in April. For 2018-19, the government’s total GST collection stood at Rs 11.77 lakh crore against the revised target of Rs 11.47 lakh crore.

In the ongoing financial year, the total GST collection is targeted at Rs 13.71 lakh crore. The central government has budgeted Rs 6.1 lakh crore as its share.

The steep increase in collections despite rate cuts in FY19 indicates that GST revenues are now on the stabilisation curve, said Mani. If the trend continues, he said, the GST target for 2019-20 would be achieved.

March Break-Up

Here’s the break-up of tax collected under various categories for March:

  • Central GST: Rs 21,163 crore
  • State GST: Rs 28,801 crore
  • Integrated GST: Rs 54,733 crore
  • Compensation Cess: Rs 9,168 crore

Integrated GST is settled between the states and the centre, based on where goods and services were consumed. From the IGST collected for March, Rs 20,370 crore was transferred as central GST and Rs 15,975 crore as State GST.

Besides Rs 12,000 crore from the accumulated IGST was equally split between the central government and states. After regular and provisional settlements, the central government earned Rs 47,533 crore and the states got Rs 50,776 crore.