GST Net adds over a million new taxpayers

The number of new registrations for Goods and Services Tax (GST) crossed the million figure on Sunday, with approval of another 2 lakh applications pending, revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia stated in a Tweet.

There are already 8.6 million registered taxpayers on the GST Net, the firm that registers businesses on the GST Network, and with the addition of 1.2 million new registrations, the number of taxpayers could swell to nearly 10 million. 

An increase in the tax base could help both the government and the taxpayer as more numbers mean more revenue and lower tax rates.

In fact, finance minister Arun Jaitley had recently said an expansion of the tax base would help the government reduce GST rates.

GST Network (GSTN), which grants registration and processes returns, is getting as many as 35,000 applications a day under a new registration window that opened on 25 June. The window will remain open till 22 September, according to GSTN chairman Navin Kumar.

In the existing business and service providers, the registration for the goods and services tax (GST) has 8.6 million registrations. ''Out of this 8.6 million, we have activated the GSTIN number for 7.1 million,'' Kumar said.

''It is possible we may surpass the 80 lakh (8 million) level within a working day or two. We will know in a month, by how much we have exceeded,'' Kumar said in an interview on Friday.

A wider tax base, which will allow the government to lower taxes and boost welfare spending, is one of the benefits policymakers have been hoping for from the GST rollout. India's tax revenue as a share of its gross domestic product was 16.7 per cent in 2016, lower than the 25.4 per cent in the US and 30.3 percent in Japan.

Out of this 1-1.2 million, even if 8-9 lakh file returns there will be a 20-25 per cent increase in revenues, say tax experts.

The GST registration is compulsory for businesses with over Rs20 lakh annual turnover. If a business becomes liable to register under GST in a course of the year, it needs to apply for registration within 30 days from becoming liable for it.

The goods and services tax (GST), a much-awaited and crucial reform, finally got implemented on 1 July. It aims to provide a simplified single regime, in line with the framework applicable in at least 140 nations.

Under the four-tier rate structure for both goods and services, based on the principle of 'equivalence', most essential items and services are either tax-free or are subject to minimum 5 per cent tax. The maximum rate is 28 per cent, with a surcharge on certain goods that are considered unhealthy.