GST collections down for second month in a row

At ₹94,726 cr. in December, it is lower than the ₹97,637 cr. collected in November

The government’s collections from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) declined for the second month in a row to ₹94,726 crore in December, official data released on Tuesday showed.

Collections declined from the ₹97,637 crore in November, which was itself lower than the ₹1,00,710 crore collected in October.

“The total gross GST revenue collected in the month of December 2018 is ₹94,726 crore of which CGST is ₹16,442 crore, SGST is ₹22,459 crore, IGST is ₹47,936 crore… and cess is ₹7,888 crore,” the government said in a statement. “The total number of GSTR 3B Returns filed for the month of November up to December 31, 2018 is 72.44 lakh.”

‘A bit discouraging’

“The slight dip in GST revenue collections as compared to the last two months is a bit discouraging,” Abhishek Jain, tax partner at EY, said.

“This may deter the government from rationalising the rate of goods left in the 28% category like cement, auto parts, etc, in the short term,” Mr. Jain added.

The GST Council had in its 31st meeting in December cut rates on 17 items and six types of services, leaving just one common use item — cement — in the 28% tax bracket. The new rates took effect from January 1, 2019.

“While the December collections are lesser than October (where it exceeded ₹1 lakh crore) and November, overall average collection for 2018-19 has shown marked improvement over 2017-18,” Pratik Jain, partner and leader, indirect tax, PwC India, said.

“This, coupled with decent growth in income tax collections, gives a clear indication that the tax base is expanding.”

Mr. Jain said the next couple of months may also see similar collections, which means that the central government might want to come up with a “more realistic” estimate of GST collections for next year.

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