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Piyush Goyal said that the combined GST receipts of union and state governments could scale ₹13 trillion by end of the current financial year. Photo: Mint
Piyush Goyal said that the combined GST receipts of union and state governments could scale ₹13 trillion by end of the current financial year. Photo: Mint

Further GST rate cut possible if everyone insists on invoices: Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal says GST rates on all items can be brought down by 4-5 percentage points if consumer insists on invoice as the move will help in preventing merchants getting away with under-reporting of sales

New Delhi: Finance minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on all items could be brought down by 4-5 percentage points if every consumer insists on an invoice at the time of purchase.

Goyal told reporters here on the eve of the first anniversary of rolling out the biggest indirect tax reform since independence that insisting on invoice has to be a movement similar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cleanliness drive Swach Bharat mission. As part of government’s engagement with consumers, a three-digit phone number will be announced in a fortnight for filing complaints related to GST including a merchant’s reluctance to issue invoice.

The move is expected to help in preventing merchants getting away with under-reporting of sales. Businesses and merchants facing any difficulty from officials can also use the number to get their grievance resolved.

“Please do demand a bill every time you purchase something. If everyone in the country demands an invoice for whatever purchase is made, GST rates on all items could be lowered by 4-5 percentage points," Goyal said. The minister also said that consumers as well as the business community should reach out to the government for any difficulty or harassment they may face. “Please do let us know if anyone is harassed or if there is any wrongdoing by a business or by an official. Our doors are always open to people," said Goyal.

Federal indirect tax body, the GST Council, has so far cut tax rates on over 320 items after rates were first fixed on a revenue neutral basis at the time of rolling out the tax reform. Issuing invoice on sale of goods and services makes it difficult for merchants to evade GST as well as the income from such sales. Union minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday in a Facebook post that GST has helped in expanding the direct taxpayer base, reflected in a 44% growth in personal advance income-tax collections during the first quarter of this year.

Goyal said that the combined GST receipts of union and state governments could scale 13 trillion by end of the current financial year. The combined target is to collect an average of 1trillion a month.

India collected 94,016 crore as GST in May (for April sales), higher than the monthly average of 89,885 crore in 2017-18. The benefit of introducing e-way bills—electronic permits for goods shipment— in boosting tax revenue is yet to be realized in the collections so far, but will become pronounced in the months to come, Goyal said. All states completed e-way bill rollout for local transportation of goods from 16 June. It was applicable for inter-state shipments from the beginning of the fiscal.

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