The government estimates that total registrations, old and new, under the goods and services tax (GST) will add up to between 90 lakh and one crore by the end of the financial year, substantially increasing the tax base and ushering in greater compliance.
Official sources said multiple registrations under VAT, excise and service tax are expected to be eliminated once GST is fully implemented, and this will mean that the total number of old registrations will drop from 86 lakh to around 70 lakh. However, the addition of those businesses that go out of the tax net and even entire sectors like textiles will push the registrations to close to a crore or 10 million.
This will mean the number of tax assessees could jump between 28% (if registrations touch 90 lakh) and 40% (if registrations touch a crore) over the older registrations that have migrated to the new regime, sources said. A drop in the older registrations is explained, said officials, by a reduction in multiple registrations under VAT, service tax and excise.
So, the increase in the number of tax assessees is calculated on the basis of the number of businesses that have migrated to the new regime. Government officials are breathing a little easier as the initial rollout has not resulted in any serious or prolonged disruptions. The number of new registrations is increasing, having touched 11 lakh over the weekend.
Protests by the textile sector in Gujarat in particular do not seem to have moved the Centre, which is not keen to make an exemption. This gives us comfort that there is a horizontal expansion of base. This will also lead to greater compliance,finance minister Arun Jaitley said in Chennai.
On Saturday, a new milestone was reached as new registrations crossed the 10 lakh mark. About two lakh new registrations are pending. The sharp spurt in new registrations has brought cheer to policymakers who were expecting an increase in the tax base. Widening of the tax base and pushing up growth are two of the key benefits of GST identified by the government.
Sources said that the number of new registrations may go up as businesses have time to register with GST netowrk (GSTN), the IT backbone as and when they cross the threshold of Rs 20 lakh. Economists also expect a significant expansion in the tax base even if 8-9 lakh of the 12 lakh new registrations file returns. The government’s drive against black money has also resulted in a sharp uptick in returns being filed on the direct taxes side as well.
An overall expansion of the tax base augurs well for the economy and may ultimately help the government in lowering tax rates. Read More..