Friday , September 17 2021

GST nets a million more taxpayers, registrations cross the 10 lakh mark

NEW DELHI: New registrations under the goods & services tax+ (GST) crossed the 10 lakh mark on Saturday, a milestone that brings cheer to policymakers who have been hoping for an increase in the tax base after the rollout of the new tax measure.

“The figure of new registrations approved in GST crosses 10 lakhs today. About two lakh applications pending in process,” revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia tweeted on Saturday. Increase in the tax base was one of key GST promises.

“Out of this 10-12 lakh, even if 8-9 lakh file returns there will be a substantial increase in revenues. It will also have benefits on the direct tax side and help check evasion,” said N R Bhanumurthy, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had said recently that if tax base expands, the government could consider lowering tax rates.

The goods and services tax+ network (GSTN), the IT backbone of the new tax system, has also registered 86 lakh existing business and service providers. “Out of this 86 lakh, we have activated the GSTIN number for 71 lakh,” GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar told TOI.

The GSTN network operations have been smooth and adjusted well to the flow of applications. Several businesses which are below the threshold turnover of Rs 20 lakh are also registering to ensure that the input tax credit chain is maintained.

GST registration is compulsory for businesses with over Rs 20 lakh annual turnover.

The government expects that it will be able to significantly expand the tax base after the implementation of GST, with some estimates forecasting a 20-25% increase in indirect tax collections.

Tax experts said they would prefer to wait and watch to assess the increase in revenue collections as some businesses might have opted for multiple registrations.

“While the increase in the new registrations is a welcome sign, we will have to wait and watch whether the collections go up because that would indicate that new assessees have come into the fold,” said M S Mani, senior director at consultancy firm Deloitte.

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