GST Officers Uncover 21,791 Fake Registrations and Rs 24,010 Crore Evasion; Finance Minister Addresses Concerns
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed on Tuesday that a focused drive by GST officers has exposed 21,791 fake GST registrations, uncovering a suspected tax evasion amounting to over Rs 24,010 crore during a two-month special initiative. In a written response in Rajya Sabha, the minister emphasized the government's commitment to protecting honest taxpayers and outlined instructions issued to exercise caution in powers like summons, provisional property attachment, and blocking of tax credits.
Sitharaman clarified that among the identified entities, 11,392 fell under state tax jurisdiction, while 10,399 pertained to CBIC jurisdiction. The suspected tax evasion was bifurcated as Rs 8,805 crore for states and Rs 15,205 crore for the Centre.
Responding to queries regarding challenges faced by ecommerce enterprises in obtaining GST registrations, especially those operating in virtual spaces, Sitharaman highlighted the implementation of a simplified procedure for e-commerce operators. This allows operators to register in a particular state or Union Territory where they lack physical presence by providing details of their principal place of business located elsewhere.
The GST Rules have been amended to enhance the registration process, incorporating biometric-based Aadhaar authentication for high-risk registrants. The system was piloted in Gujarat, subsequently extended to Puducherry in July, and to Andhra Pradesh in November.
Moreover, entities are mandated to furnish details of valid bank accounts, name, and PAN within 30 days of registration grant or before filing the statement of outward supply, whichever comes first. Failure to comply results in an automatic suspension by the system, with provisions for reinstatement upon subsequent compliance.
As the government intensifies efforts to curb tax evasion and streamline the registration process, Sitharaman's responses shed light on the multifaceted strategies aimed at ensuring tax compliance and safeguarding the interests of honest taxpayers.