GST shortfall in Goa as many dealers refrain from filing returns

Despite the extension given and the awareness and outreach campaigns undertaken by the government, majority of the taxpayers in Goa have not filed returns and paid the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the deadline, which was on August 28.

Information gathered from the commercial tax department reveals that only 7,500 out of over 25,000 taxpayers registered on the GST network have paid the tax revealing a success rate of 30 per cent. Further, the government earned a revenue of Rs 103 crore as the state’s share out of the total GST collection of Rs 400 crore (Goa).

Commissioner of commercial taxes, Dipak Bandekar, speaking to this daily on Tuesday, said that the number of people who have paid up is low compared to the people who had registered on the portal. “Some of those who registered may be exempt while others could be under the composition scheme. But initial findings suggest that several dealers have not filed the returns and paid tax,” he said.

According to an initial study made by the department, the top 20 per cent of local taxpayers have paid GST but the middle category comprising supermarkets and commercial establishments has not. Among the top 20 per cent are several large hotels, business houses and floating casinos. It is learnt that low-cost airline Indigo has paid Rs 89 lakh as the state GST but other airlines are yet to do so.

The commercial taxes department is expected to carry out a review to assess the tax collection from GST. Each officer of the department has been assigned top 20 dealers for monitoring and the work of scrutinizing the returns would begin by month-end. “Officers will start examining the returns from August 31 onwards, as several are on leave for Chaturthi festival,” said Bandekar.

He said that the government’s revenue from GST is set to increase as the Rs 103 crore is only from state GST and does not include income from integrated GST. “The final figures on tax collection and the state share will be known only in few days,” he said. The government had set a target of Rs 150 crore from state GST during the first installment.

The GST rollout began from July 1. Each business entity such as banks, telecom companies, insurance companies, dealers etc has to pay GST in the state wherever they are located. Taxpayers who did not pay the first time will have to do so on the second deadline date. The penalty for delayed payment is as high as 18 per cent.

The GST system is supposed to be foolproof, as no taxpayer is expected to escape from paying it. “The tax will be auto calculated from the next month onwards and the liability of the taxpayer will appear on the portal,” said officials from the department.

The government had first set a deadline of August 20 for paying GST which was later extended to August 28 as many dealers could not pay because the system had crashed. However, during the second extension period, the portal was working, according to several tax consultants.