No GST returns, no e-way bill, says GST Council

With a steep rise in non-compliance in filing GST returns, the GST Council is soon set to stop generating e-way bills for traders who have not filed returns for two consecutive quarters.

“As soon as the new IT system that will ensure barring of e-way bill generation if returns are not filed for six months is put in place, the new rules will be notified,” an official said.

As per GST norms, an e-way bill is necessary for moving goods worth over Rs 50,000 from one state to another.

The move has been initiated after recording lower-than-expected revenue collection under GST. Against the budgeted monthly revenue target of Rs 1 lakh crore, GST collections have so far averaged Rs 96,800 crore a month this fiscal.

According to the government’s own admission, GST compliance has steadily declined over the past year with 28.75 per cent of regular taxpayers not filing returns in November 2018, against 10.56 per cent in November 2017, an almost three-fold increase in non-filers. Among taxpayers under the composite scheme, non-filers increased to 25.37 per cent in the July-Sept period of 2018-2019 from 15.03 per cent in the same period the previous year

Fake invoices to claim input tax credit also increased from only four cases involving Rs 9.75 crore to 499 involving Rs 3894.94 crore. Central tax officers have detected 3,626 cases of GST evasion/violations cases, involving Rs 15,278.18 crore in the April-December period.

To shore up revenue and increase compliance, the government had said that stringent anti-evasion measures have to be put in place. Another step being initiated is to tag eway bills to the FASTag mechanism. Beginning April, the revenue department is working on integrating the e-way bill system with NHAI’s FASTag mechanism to help track movement of goods. There have been reports that some transporters are doing multiple trips by generating a single e-way bill. Integration of e-way bill with FASTag would help find the location of vehicles, and when and how many times they cross NHAI’s toll plazas.

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