As business activities came to a virtual standstill mode, due to the pandemic lockdown during the month of April, the goods and services tax collection has shown a clear reflection of the same. According to sources, the GST collections for the month of April recorded in May stand at Rs 43,000 crore (approx).
"The GST collections for April, recorded in May and till June 4, 9 am, stand at around Rs 43,000 crore. The GST filing period, due to pandemic hardships have been extended by 15 days, so actual collections will be recorded till June 5. However, the decline is primarily because April was a month of complete lockdown and only essential services were working during this month," sources told CNBCTV18.
GST collections for business activities in April 2019 and recorded in May 2019, were seen at Rs 1,00,289 crore.
April 2020 figures when compared to March 2020 have also seen a decline. GST collections in March 2020, recorded till May 5 were Rs 61,543 crore.
When asked how are the trends looking between centre's GST collections and the collections made by states, sources shared that "states faired better and have seen a slight recovery in collections when compared to centre GST collections."
Meanwhile, states are still struggling as revenue shortfall is the biggest challenge that they are facing today.
Troubled by a double whammy of poor GST revenue and rising expenditures, many states are keenly waiting for the North Block to clear their pending dues, sources added.
"Revenue decline which is ranging between 60 percent to 85 percent across India for the months of April and May, on a yearly comparison is making it tough for states to survive," government officials said.
When contacted by CNBC-TV18, many state finance ministers and revenue officials shared that the "revenue decline mostly because of a dip in the GST collections, for Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh is 60 percent, Maharashtra has recorded a dip of 61 percent, Haryana has seen a decline of 63 percent when collections are compared during the same period last year.
Highest among the states whom, CNBC TV18 approached is of Delhi, a decline of 85 percent for the months of April and May, Assam saw a decline of 65 percent, Kerala at 73 percent dip and Gujarat also saw a decline of 65 percent in the revenue collections."
The government, on the other hand, has not officially released the GST collections data post, March 2020, which were for the business activities in February.
The gross GST revenue collected in the month of March 2020 (for business activities in February) was at Rs 97,597 crore. Of this, CGST was Rs 19,183 crore, SGST was Rs 25,601 crore, IGST was Rs 44,508 crore (including Rs 18,056 crore collected on imports) and cess was Rs 8,306 crore (including Rs 841 crore collected on imports).
The total number of GSTR-3B Returns filed for the month of February up to March 31, 2020 is 76.5 lakh.
Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY said, "With the lockdown on economic activities being in force for most businesses in April, the GST collections were expected to be significantly low. Most of this revenue reflects GST collected through supply of essential goods, services and significant reverse charge liability which businesses have on account of fixed/committed foreign currency expenses."
Pratik Jain, indirect tax partner at PWC said, "The drop in collection is on expected lines but there are signs of improvement now as the businesses stand on their feet again after relaxation of lockdown. The number of E way bills in the month of May is substantially higher than April which shows increased economic activity. One should expect May collection to be substantially better than April. That said, the industry is expecting some GST relief, at least by way of deferment of payment in tax collected. Sectors such as real estate and hospitality may need rate cuts as well to revive the demand to some extent."
"Increase in number of E-way bills generated is a clear indicator of enhanced economic activity. The sheer number of e-way bills being generated shows that businesses are slowly but surely coming back to normalcy. This should also result in increase in GST collections in the coming months which have suffered a massive hit due to the lockdown," said Rajat Bose, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Co.
Rajesh Gupta, co-founder and director, Busy Infotech said, "The significant impact on demand and output showed a decline in GST collections for the month of April that is counted 43,000 crores (Approx) till June 4, 2020. Even after the extension of the deadline for GST filing by the government, the number of collections declined as in the month of April, businesses were not operational and shut down. The purchasing of non-essential products has reduced drastically and it affects the small businesses producing non-consumer goods. All of these factors directly impacted the GST collections, further squeezing the government's fiscal situation in the current financial year."
Mahesh Jaising, partner, Deloitte India said, "Yes, it does indicate a revival in economic activity to some level. We have witnessed increased vehicular movement from 18 May onwards as the MHA relaxed the guidelines and allowed all goods, essential or non-essential, to be moved throughout the country. E-commerce opening up for non-essential goods is also a key contributor to the increased usage of way bills. It should be noted that a large part of this spike is on account of built up demand and may not be reflective of trends for the coming weeks."