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September 28, 2020
KhabriBaba
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Taking steps to fix GST loopholes, says Nirmala Sitharaman

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Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday that the government was taking several steps such as using data analytics to plug loopholes in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection and prevent particular areas of misuse and gaming of the system.

During the last three months, the GST collection crossed Rs one lakh crore every month, she said addressing a press conference in Chennai on Budget 2020-21.

At the GST Council meetings, there was a feedback from state finance ministers about various loopholes due to which tax revenue was not accruing to the government, she said. To plug such loopholes and to halt particular areas of misuse and gaming of the system, a lot of steps were being taken, she said.

“Economy is at its robust level and macroeconomics is at its best. The fundamentals are strong. The foreign exchange reserves and FDI investments are at their maximum level,” she said.

She said that there is also a plan by Centre to increase the interaction of banking officials.

She exuded confidence that “India will get back to 8% growth” and said the government is making efforts to “pursue the goals”.

Revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said a targeted approach was being followed by tapping on data analytics and Artificial Intelligence and it has helped improve GST collections. In November the collection was close to ~1,04,000 crore and in December it was about Rs 1,03,000 crore, while in January it was around Rs 1,11,000 crore, he said.

The economy has improved and the improved collection was in view of several measures taken, he said. Citing use of data analytics, he said data from income tax, GST, customs, export, and import was being mined.

A red flag report on areas of mismatch was prepared, he said, adding a large number of people were tax complaints and honest taxpayers. It was only a fraction that might be a few thousand of GST taxpayers who required scrutiny, he said.

In cases of mismatch being up to a level, the taxpayers are notified through a text message (SMS) and if it was large, officials are also notified to find out if the discrepancy was due to a genuine reason or otherwise.

Such targeted measures have helped the government improve the tax collections without any “overreach,” he said.

The government will continue to follow the identification of problem areas. “We will continue this further and improve collection through data analytics and artificial intelligence so that people who are trying to gain the system are identified in their pursuit and honest taxpayers can be completely free of hassles,” he said.

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