May GST collections beat pandemic blues; remain over Rs 1L cr-mark

New Delhi (IANS)┬áIndia’s gross Good and Services Tax (GST) revenue collections remained above the psychological mark of Rs 1 lakh crore, clocking a high of Rs 1,02,709 crore in May 2021, beating all the expectations of lower collections in the wake of the disruptions caused by the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Though the GST revenues in May 2021 are lower than the record Rs 1.41 lakh crore collections made in the previous month, the highest since the introduction of the tax in 2017, they are still significant as most tax experts had feared that the real impact of the pandemic and the lockdowns in different parts of the country would pull down GST collections significantly in May.

“The revenues for the month of May 2021 are 65 per cent higher than the GST revenues collected in the same month last year,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

“During the month, revenues from import of goods were 56 per cent higher, while the revenues from domestic transaction (including import of services) were 69 per cent higher than the revenues from these sources during the same month last year,” it added.

According to the statement, the gross GST revenue collected in May 2021 was Rs 1,02,709 crore of which CGST was Rs 17,592 crore, SGST Rs 22,653 crore, IGST Rs 53,199 crore (including Rs 26,002 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess Rs 9,265 crore (including Rs 868 crore collected on import of goods).

The revenue figures include GST collections from domestic transactions till June 4 since the taxpayers were given various relief measures in the form of waiver or reduction in interest on delayed return filing for 15 days for the return filing month of May in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic.

In May, the government settled Rs 15,014 crore to CGST and Rs 11,653 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement, the statement said.

With May collections staying above the Rs 1 lakh crore-mark, it is the eighth month in a row when GST revenues crossed the threshold. The collections are surprising as most of the states have been under strict lockdown due to the pandemic.

In addition, while the taxpayers with a turnover of above Rs 5 crore had to file their returns by June 4, which they would have otherwise filed by May 20, smaller taxpayers with turnover less than Rs 5 crore still have time till the first week of July to file their returns without any late fee and interest. The revenues from these taxpayers are deferred till then.

Thus, the actual revenues for the month of May 2021 would be higher and would be known when all the extended dates expire, the Finance Ministry said.

“The collections for the month of May 2021 are higher than expected. Though most of the businesses were not functioning in April due to the lockdown, the numbers come as a pleasant surprise. The numbers should rise further considering that many small businesses are yet to file their returns considering the Covid related relaxations extended by the government for such businesses,” said Rajat Bose, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.

“Collections of Rs 1 lakh crore pertaining to the transactions in the month of April 2021 indicate that the economic impact of the lockdowns has been much lower than expected. A close watch is required on the next month’s collections to determine the extent of the impact on GST collections in FY22,” said M.S. Mani, Senior Director, Deloitte India.

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