Tax officials are working out strategies to encourage more businesses to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and further increase the taxpayer base.
At present, there are about 90 lakh businesses registered to file returns and pay taxes under the new levy, which kicked in from July 1.
But, the Central Board of Excise and Customs will now also encourage small businesses and dealers, who may be exempt from registering for GST.
“We plan to increase awareness of even small businesses about the benefits of GST and why they should register,” said a senior official, pointing out that in the long run it will be beneficial to them as suppliers would only choose to buy from those businesses from where they can get input tax credit.
Further, in some cases tax officials may also verify whether businesses that were paying taxes earlier have registered for GST.
Officials believe that as the new tax system stabilises, more businesses will register under GST, taking the tax base to over one crore in the next one year, if not before.
At present, businesses with an annual turnover of up to ₹20 lakh (or ₹10 lakh in some States) are exempt from registering for GST.
Though the number of taxpayers registered with the GSTN is much higher than the original estimate of about 80 lakh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, at the recent Rajaswa Gyan Sangam, urged the Centre and State tax officials to further expand the tax base under GST.
“To enable all traders to take maximum benefit of GST, we should work towards ensuring that all traders, including even relatively smaller traders with a turnover below ₹20 lakh, should register with the GST system,” he had said, asking officials to further increase the taxpayer base.
The issue was also then followed up by Prime Minister’s Office. Also Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, at a recent video-conferencing meeting with Centre and State tax officials, assessed the roll out of the new levy and measures to increase the tax base.