The ongoing coronavirus epidemic has been taking a toll on tax revenues for the Centre and the states as well. The total revenues, for instance, for Telangana are Rs16,000 crore per month, but the state could collect only Rs1,600 crore in April. Similarly, all the states are suffering from erosion in GST collections. Considering the current turbulent situation, the Centre has extended the validity of all e-Way bills that were set to expire during the period of first lockdown to May 31.
A notification from Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said that the validity has been extended for all e-Way bills, which were generated on or before March 24 and had were to expire between the period from March 20 to April 15.
With this, traders are breathing a sigh of relief. The extension is a great relief for traders, who secured e-Way for inter-state/intra-state movement of goods but were unable to utilise the bill as lockdown prevented any movement.
e-Way bill is a document, which is electronically generated for the specific consignment/ movement of goods from one place to another, either inter-state or intra-state. It is an important aspect of the GST regime.
Lockdown dents GST revenues in April
As India entered the third phase of lockdown from May 4, 2020, after completing 40-day lockdown period as on April 30, 2020, the standstill situation severely dented the revenue collections of states to the tune of about 90 per cent. It created cash flow problems for the industry and states. The cash-starved central government and states are forced to look at possible revenue earning measures including phased opening of liquor vends and pan and gutka shops in the first phase of relaxations for restarting economic activity post lockdown.
The alarming situation has forced to seriously compromise in April month with several state governments reporting serious fall in collections that are as high as 80-90 per cent some cases. The officials said that GST collections are one of the prime sources of revenue for the states.
Concerned about the steep fall, the Centre is yet to declare the GST collection numbers for April though monthly GST collection numbers for a particular month is announced on the first day of the next month.
The delay, officials say, is because the government deferred allowed delayed filing of GSTR 3B returns for 15 days from the due date of April 20 to ease compliance burden on taxpayers during lockdown.
The worst hit seems to be states such as Delhi, West Bengal, Assam, Andhra Pradesh that are reporting fall in April GST collections to the tune of 90 per cent. In case if Delhi, officials have indicated that they have collected just Rs300 in April against normal monthly collection of Rs 3,000 crore. Similarly, Assam seems to have collected just about Rs 200 crore as GST in April against close to Rs 1,000 crore at this point of the year.
West Bengal is also facing serious fall in tax collections as lockdown has completely stopped service sector activity while manufacturing also remains suspended. GST collections have been badly hit in hilly states that depend largely on tourism and hospitality for revenue.
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