Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections rose 12 per cent to more than Rs 1.49 lakh crore in February as domestic economic activities and consumer spending on high-end goods gained momentum.
However, the collections are lower than January mop up of Rs 1.58 lakh crore, which was also the second highest monthly revenue figure since the rollout of GST on July 1, 2017.
"Rs 1,49,577 crore gross GST revenue collected in February 2023; 12 per cent higher than GST revenue in same month last year," the finance ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Generally, February being a 28-day month, witnesses a relatively lower collection of GST revenue, the ministry said.
During the month, revenues from domestic transaction (including import of services) were 15 per cent higher while revenues from import of goods was 6 per cent higher compared to the same month last year.
KPMG in India Partner, Indirect Tax, Abhishek Jain said this indicates a growing self-reliance within the domestic market and is a positive sign for the Indian economy.
As per the ministry data, out of the gross GST revenue, Central GST was Rs 27,662 crore, State GST was Rs 34,915 crore, Integrated GST was Rs 75,069 crore (including Rs 35,689 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess was Rs 11,931 crore (including Rs 792 crore collected on import of goods).
The cess collection of Rs 11,931 crore was the highest since implementation of GST.
AMRG & Associates Senior Partner Rajat Mohan said enforcement action by tax authorities against pan masala and tobacco manufacturers in the past few months could have led to higher collection of taxes and thus contributed to the cess pool.
"Indian automakers reported solid domestic sales for vehicles which also fuelled collection of compensation cess during February," Mohan said.
ICRA Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said the sequential dip in the GST collections in February 2023 is partly on account of the boost to the January figure from the quarter-ending inflows for the month of December, which were remitted in the following month.
On the 'large divergence' in the growth of the revenues from import of goods and that from domestic transactions, Nayar said, "the GST revenues from imports of goods are likely to have been dampened by the sequential and Y-o-Y contraction in merchandise imports in January 2023. We expect the FY2023 RE for CGST collections to be met".
N.A. Shah Associates Parag Mehta said the GSTN portal gives a lot of data and information to the authorities to cross verify and detect suspicious transactions.
"Even the spending by the consumers have increased substantially leading to increase in collections on ongoing basis," Mehta said.
Tax Connect Advisory Partner Vivek Jalan said the improvement in GST collections is a result of increased audits, assessments and proceedings in large entities which thereafter impact the entire supply chain.
The monthly GST revenue has remained at more than Rs 1.4 lakh crore for 12 months in a row, including February.
Deloitte India Partner M S Mani said all the large states have reported significant increases ranging from 10 per cent to 24 per cent compared to the same month last year and this indicate that the economic growth and the steps taken to improve compliance are yielding results.
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