'GST evasion taking place via black marketing, undervaluing imports'
New Delhi, March 12: Revenue authorities have detected rampant tax evasion through black market and under-valuing of imports in less than nine months into the GST regime.
Big data analytics by the authorities has revealed that although importers are paying GST, they are supplying the goods without bill, sources said. Importers typically pay integrated goods and services tax or IGST on goods they bring into the country.
This tax is supposed to be set-off against the actual GST paid by the final consumer, or claimed as refund. According to the results of the analysis, importers including bigger companies are paying IGST on imports but not claiming credit for the same.
This essentially means that the supply of imported goods to domestic channels is being done without a bill, the sources said. A similar situation has been witnessed on cess charged on luxury and sin goods with companies paying it at the time of imports but not claiming credit or setting it off from final GST paid by consumers.
The GST Council, the top decision-making body of the new indirect tax regime, had discussed the tax evasion at its meeting on Saturday. Sources said it has directed further analysis of the data to zero-in on the chain leading to evasions and initiation of adequate action thereof.
With monthly revenues under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) going down, preliminary data analysis showed that over 73,000 taxpayers are paying IGST of nearly Rs 30,000 crore but are not claiming refund for the same.
Data of IGST and cess paid on import of goods at customs port show that over 33,000 taxpayers have claimed over Rs 10,000 crore in excess of payment. Sources said the department is using risk based parameters identify potential evaders, with eye on proprietor and partnership firms.
Rolled out from July 1, 2017, GST has subsumed over a dozen local taxes including excise, service tax and VAT. As per the data with revenue authorities, Rs 16,965 crore worth IGST refund claims have been filed with Customs systems for July-January period.
About Rs 4,815 crore has been sanctioned as refunds, out of the Rs 9,760 crore worth eligible claims. AMRG & Associates Partner Rajat Mohan said beginning of data analytics mean that the government will soon begin to identify tax evaders.
"I feel authorities could unearth rampant tax evasion by importers of luxury products or mobile phones wherein goods could have been imported at considerably low values and post-import such products are sold in black market without payment of taxes.
Government coping with low collections, would use the data analytics to attack tax evaders," Mohan said.
As per a finance ministry reply to the Lok Sabha, GST mop up was Rs 93,590 crore in July, Rs 93,029 crore in August, Rs 95,132 crore in September and Rs 85,931 crore in October. The collections in November stood at Rs 83,716 crore, December (Rs 88,929 crore) and January (Rs 88,047 crore).