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Settling Down Phase of GST, Steady Launch of E-Way Bills banner

Settling Down Phase of GST, Steady Launch of E-Way Bills banner

The GST Council meeting schedule for 4 May 2018 will primarily focus on the fusion method of GST returns. However, we could have more clarity on which states will be starting to mandate the e-way bill for intra-state trade in May. The expectation for this meeting will be a definitive decision on the new method for the GST returns. It is widely expected the GST returns will simplify to a real time submission followed by a summary return. So for businesses this will hopefully be a gentle transition and in a sense a normalization of the existing system.

The GST revenues have continued to improve with April collections toping 1 lakh crore which was a jump of 11 crore from the previous month. The states took in collective 40,000 crore from the GST in April and the central government took 32,000 crore. Hopefully May will see similar numbers. As well the composition dealers for the first time made a successful filing of their returns. As businesses have accepted the norms of the GST and gotten used to the regime – it is now time to turn to e-way bill.

The e-way bill system has been functioning well with the number of e-way bills generated increasing on a steady basis but there are still some provisions of the system to be implemented. There also will need to be a study conducted to see if there has been a reduction in the number of inter-state stoppages and delays due to inspections. There are still some states which have not announced their final dates for the implementation. These large states provide a considerable amount of trade and so their introduction could tax the overall system which has been rated at 75 lakh e-way bills a day.

While we are in the infancy of the e-way bill it is clear we have a long way to go before the stated goals are achieved of reducing tax evasion. The increase in the revenues show the GST system is stabilizing and when we see corresponding decrease in transport times we will see a real benefit from the e-way bill. The stated goals of e-way bill was to reduce tax evasion while creating a single integrated market place. Now with clear guidelines on interception and inspection in place it is a matter of time before we see the improvements in trade and tax compliance from the continuous data collection of e-way bill information.

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