GST revenue improvement panel to meet on Tuesday

A high-level panel constituted by the government to suggest measures to augment GST revenue collection will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, a senior official said.

The government last week constituted the panel of officers to suggest steps to expand tax base and check evasion in the backdrop of falling revenue collections under GST.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections dropped sharply to a 19-month low in September to Rs 91,916 crore, reflecting the slowdown in the economy.

"The first meeting of the committee is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, October 15," GST Council Special Secretary Rajeev Rajan told PTI.

The committee has been given 15 days time to submit its report, he said.

This is going to be the first comprehensive review of GST after it was rolled out on July 1, 2017.

The 12-member panel, comprising of state-level GST commissioners and cental officials, has been asked to suggest urgent measures to arrest fall in tax revenues and steps to be taken to improve revenue collection.

"The committee should consider a wide range of reforms so that a comprehensive list of suggestions may emerge," an official order had said.

The panel has been asked to look into "systemic changes in GST including checks and balances to prevent misuse."

It has also been tasked to suggest measures to improve voluntary compliance as well as policy measures and changes in law needed.

Its key mandate is to suggest "measures for expansion of tax base" and make recommendations on "improved compliance monitoring and anti-evasion measures using better data analytics," the order said.

The panel comprises state GST commissioners of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab, besides central government officials including Principal Commissioner of GST and Joint Secretary (Revenue).

States have been asked to give suggestions in writing as well as join the panel.

"The Committee may co-opt or seek assistance from such officers from Centre/State as may be deemed necessary," the order said.

GST collections dropped sharply to a 19-month low in September, mirroring a widening slowdown in the economy triggered by shrinking consumer demand.

This was the second straight month of decline in GST collections, which from July 1, 2017, amalgamated 17 different central and state levies, including excise duty, service tax and VAT.

The fall in tax collections is seen as a reflection of economic activity and a decline in collections indicate a downturn.

India's GDP growth slowed to more than six-year low of 5 per cent in April-June, prompting the government to take an array of steps to boost the economy, including the steepest cut in corporate tax rate which would cost Rs 1.45 lakh crore.

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