Stating that reforms are continuing in GST, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a new simplified system for filing of returns from April 1, 2020 and said features like SMS based filing for nil return, return pre-filling, improved input tax credit flow will be introduced.
Earlier, she began her budget speech by paying tribute to its chief architect Arun Jaitley and said, “Of the structural reforms, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been the most historic in our country.”
Stating that GST has integrated the country economically and has consolidated multiple taxes to one tax and facilitated formalisation of the economy, the FM added that GST has led to Inspector Raj vanishing.
Sitharaman said, “It has resulted in the efficiency gains in logistic and transport sectors. The turnaround time for trucks has witnessed a substantial reduction to the tune of 20% due to abolition of check posts in GST.”
The effective tax incidence on almost every commodity has come down substantially. Through several rate reductions, an annual benefit of Rs one lakh crore has been extended to consumers, which amounts to 10% reduction in overall tax incidence, the FM said.
Average household now saves 4% of monthly spend due to reduced GST rates, she added.
A total of 60 lakh new taxpayers have been added in the last 2 years and 105 crore e-way bills generated under GST, said Sitharaman, while adding that 40 crore GST returns were filed in this financial year.
Refund process has been simplified and has been made fully automated with no human interface while electronic invoice is another innovation where critical information shall be captured electronically in a centralised system, the FM said.
Stating that several measures have been initiated for improving compliance, Sitharaman said Aadhaar based verification of taxpayers is being introduced, which will help in weeding out dummy or non-existent units and dynamic QR-code is proposed for consumer invoices.
Deep data analytics and AI tools are being used for crackdown on GST input tax credit, refund, and other frauds.
Significant policy level changes have also been made. GST rate structure is also being deliberated so as to address issues like inverted duty structure, she added.