ASIA: Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs cracks down on GST evaders.

As published on newindianexpress.com, Wednesday 17 June, 2020.

NEW DELHI: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has begun to tighten the noose around tax evaders amidst a sharp increase in instances of tax frauds during the nationwide lockdown. Sources say that the tax authorities have zeroed in on 350 companies which are suspected of tax evasion.

“GST Intellegence has sent a list of about 350 such companies in various zones, suspected of tax evasion including export companies, a few medical device companies, small pharma companies and manufacturers, and private hospitals... a target has been set for each zone,” a senior official told TNIE.

The move came after GST intelligence detected tax evasion of Rs 225 crore by a pan masala company. The unit has since flagged many such incidents of evasion where many companies have used the relaxations during the pandemic to evade tax.

The CBIC has instructed all its zonal office to closely investigate these cases and come down heavily on tax evaders who are misusing relaxations granted during the pandemic to gain an advantage.

“The department is extending its help to businesses affected by the lockdown by relaxing norms for many earlier procedures. However, the office received multiple complaints where unscrupulous elements are using these relaxations to evade tax. While we are making things easier for honest taxpayers, we will not be soft on tax evaders, “ a senior CBIC official said.The CBIC has asked for a detailed report on each case.

Tax evasion has been a consistent problem. According to the Fifteenth Finance Commission’s (FFC) presentation in January this year, the government may be losing Rs 5 lakh crore annually in indirect tax revenue due to defaults and evasion. As revenue collection remains a matter of concern, the government is trying all measures to increase collections by putting a check on cases of evasion.

The Centre’s share of GST collections in the financial year was Rs 6 lakh crore as opposed to the revised estimate of Rs 6.12 lakh crore. While the Budget pegs Central GST at Rs 5.8 lakh crore for 2020-21, multiple crises make the target a difficult one to achieve.

While the Budget pegs Central GST at H5.8 lakh crore for 2020-21, multiple crises make the target a difficult one to achieve due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.