New Delhi, October 24, 2017

Three months into GST rollout, the new indirect tax regime has consistently given Rs 93,000- 94,000 crore in taxes every month on back of encouraging response from the industry, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.

On a day the government announced waiver of late fee for those who filed late tax returns for months of August and September, he indicated rationalisation of GST tax slabs once revenue stream stabilises.

As much as Rs 92,150 crore -- Rs 14,042 crore in Central-GST levy, Rs 21,172 crore from State-GST and Rs 48,948 crore on account of inter-state and exports levy called Integrated-GST, was collected for the month of September.

GST tax collections in July -- the maiden month of rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) -- was over Rs 95,000 crore and it was over Rs 91,000 crore in August.

Speaking at a press conference called to brief on state of economy, Jaitley said the number of businesses registered under GST has crossed 1 crore, which includes 72 lakh entities which migrated from earlier excise, service tax regime and VAT regime, and 28 lakh fresh registrations.

The GST amalgamates more than a dozen central and state levies like excise duty, service tax and VAT to weave India into one market with one rate of tax.

"Trade response towards GST is encouraging. If in first three months the number of registrants increase 30-35 per cent, then it is a positive signal," he said.

He said that revenue collection under GST has been "consistent" in the three months of roll out and the number would go up further once the businesses which have opted for composition scheme starts filing their returns.

Businesses under composition scheme have to file their returns only quarterly. The tax rates under composition scheme is 1 per cent for traders, 2 per cent for manufacturers and 5 per cent for restaurants.

Asked about Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia's comments in an interview to that some rejig in GST rate structure is required to reduce the burden on small and medium businesses, Jaitley said that was the stated position of the government.

In deciding on the present 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent tax slabs for different goods and services, the government strictly went by the principle of revenue neutrality and that the rates on items should not increase in the new regime, he said.

Revenue neutrality refers to projections of tax collections by the Centre and states being protected in the new GST regime.

It has been consistently government's stand that GST rates and slabs should be rationalised, he said.

Once the objective of no change in incidence of tax on goods and services, revenue neutrality and tax collections of certain level is maintained, "then is there a need to rationalise slabs? The government has been saying this and Revenue Secretary's statement was based on that," he added.

[The Times of India]