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So far, 76 lakh businesses, service providers register with GSTN

GST Network, the technology platform for indirect taxes, has registered 76 lakh businesses and service providers with the total base expected to top the 80-lakh mark, which includes those paying central excise, service tax, state VAT, central sales tax and other levies.
With 10 days left for registration of existing businesses, the government expects that it will be able to significantly expand the base, helping generate 20-25% rise in indirect tax collections, said sources.
So far, 70 lakh existing taxpayers have enrolled, while six lakh new players have registered. A large number of businesses did not have to register as the threshold for GST was pegged at Rs 20 lakh, twice the level for VAT.
There are, however, some companies which are in multiple businesses that can register each vertical se parately . For instance, a company which is in tobacco and hotels can seek two GST registration numbers.In addition, service providers -from Indian railways to banks, telecom and insurance companies -have to register separately for doing business in every state.Earlier, for service tax a nation-wide registration was sufficient. Some consultants are complaining that some of their clients have encountered difficulties during registration.
“The response is very positive so far and our expecta tion of GST helping expand the tax base seems to be right,“ said an officer.
A wider base augurs well for the government to generate more resources, especially during the last two years of its five-year term, besides making the economy less formal and less cash driven.
GSTN expects a rush for registration over the next few days as several businesses may want to register only now given that deadline for filing is nearing.
Officers said that a large number of the businesses that have registered are likely to be small players although the data has not been analyzed.
At the time when GSTN had registered over 60 lakh businesses, nearly 55 lakh were VAT payers, while 5.5 lakh were excise and service tax payers. Of these over 55 lakh were proprietorship firms. Around two lakh excise payers and 5.6 lakh service tax payers were also registered for paying VAT, which means that there was double counting. At least seven lakh existing taxpayers will now be part of the 70 lakh who have enrolled with GSTN only once.
The Times of India, New Delhi, 22th July 2017


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