Gross revenues from the Goods and Services Tax hit a record high of ₹1.41 lakh crore in April 2021, suggesting economic activity may not yet be as badly affected amidst the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as last year.
April’s GST collections surpassed the previous highest collections of ₹1.24 lakh crore in March 2021 by 14%, and mark the seventh month in a row since October that GST revenues have crossed ₹1 lakh crore.
In April last year, as economic activity had ground to a halt amidst a national lockdown, the indirect collections had dipped to ₹32,172 crore. This April, revenues from domestic transactions (including services imports) grew 21% over March 2021.
Tax experts expect some moderation in revenues in the coming months due to the gradual imposition of partial and full lockdowns across all States. The government, on its part, said the steady increase in GST collections over recent months clearly indicates a ‘sustained economic recovery’ is underway.
“The all-time high GST collections seem to be the outcome of uptick in economic recovery, anti-evasion measures like e-invoicing, data analytics-led investigations, and also year-end audit and financial closure of the companies as on March 2021,” said Abhishek Jain, tax partner at EY India. “However, with certain parts of the country facing lockdown due to the surge in COVID cases, the collections may experience a decline in the coming months,” he said.
“Despite the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic affecting several parts of the country, Indian businesses have once again shown remarkable resilience by not only complying with the return filing requirements but also paying their GST dues in a timely manner during the month,” the Finance Ministry said.
“Closer monitoring against fake-billing, deep data analytics using data from multiple sources including GST, Income-tax and Customs IT systems and effective tax administration have also contributed to the steady increase in tax revenue,” the Ministry said.
Of the ₹1,41,384 crore GST collected in April, Central GST (CGST) collections were ₹27,837 crore, State GST (SGST) ₹35,621 crore, Integrated GST (IGST) ₹68,481 crore and Cess collections of ₹9,445 crore.
The IGST includes ₹29,599 crore collected on import of goods. The total revenue of Centre and the States, after regular and ad-hoc settlements in April’ 2021 is ₹57,022 crore for Central GST and ₹58,377 crore for the State GST, respectively.