Indicating a lower-than-expected impact of localised lockdowns in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the gross GST (Goods and Services Tax) collections in May (for sales in April) topped Rs 1 lakh crore for the eighth month in a row.
At Rs 1.02 lakh crore, it is lower than April’s record collections of Rs 1,41,314 crore, but still high despite most states imposing strict restrictions to break the chain of transmission of the infection.
“Collections above Rs 1 lakh crore pertaining to the transactions in the month of April indicate that the economic impact of the lockdowns has been much lower than expected. A close watch is required on the next month’s collections to determine the extent of the impact on GST collections FY22,” said M S Mani, Senior Director, Deloitte India.
In the corresponding month last year, i.e. May 2020, the GST collections had stood at Rs 62,009 crore. Last year, after the nationwide lockdown was announced in March, GST collections had dipped to a record low of Rs 32,172 crore in April (for sales in March).
Subsequently, it took six months for the GST collections to recover and cross the Rs 1 lakh crore mark in October at Rs 1.05 lakh crore.
In a press statement Saturday, the Ministry of Finance said, “This would be the eighth month in a row that GST revenues have crossed ? 1 lakh crore mark. This is despite the fact that most of the States have been under strict lockdown due to the pandemic.”
The numbers for May are expected to improve further as the filing deadline for smaller taxpayers is till July first week.
“…while the taxpayers with turnover above Rs 5 crore had to file their returns by June 4, which they would have otherwise filed by May 20, smaller taxpayers with turnover less than Rs 5 crore still have time till first week of July to file the returns without any late fee and interest and the revenue from these taxpayers is deferred till then. The actual revenues for the month of May 2021, thus would be higher and would be known when all the extended dates expire,” the Ministry of Finance statement said.
The absence of a stringent nationwide lockdown has been a silver lining, given that it has ensured industrial economic activity continued even if at a reduced level. The Indian Express had reported earlier how key economic data points like port container traffic, railway freight in April and May this year suggested a less severe loss of activity than last year. Experts had said the June collections (for sales in May) might be impacted as e-way bills had recorded a sharper decline in May.
The gross GST revenue collected in May 2021 stood at Rs 1,02,709 crore, of which central GST is Rs 17,592 crore, state GST is Rs 22,653 crore, integrated GST is Rs 53,199 crore (including Rs 26,002 crore collected on import of goods) and cess is Rs 9,265 crore (including Rs 868 crore collected on import of goods).