Businesses in the country may have evaded paying indirect taxes to the tune of Rs 29,088 crores. Directorate General of GST (Goods and Services Tax) Intelligence, the finance ministry's investigation arm was quoted in a report saying that the evasion was observed in 1,835 cases recorded in seven months between April to October of current fiscal year.
"DGGI officers have detected total indirect tax evasion of Rs 29,088 crore (290.88 billion) during April-October," an anonymous official was reported as saying in a <i>PTI</i> report.
The report further says that evasion in paying GST accounted to Rs 4562 crores. 571 cases were reported by the agency for evasion of GST.
Bulk of the cases pertained to evasion of service tax. 1,145 Service tax evasion cases cumulatively accounted for Rs 22973 crores.
In the case of central excise duty, DGGI detected 119 cases involving tax evasion to the tune of Rs 1553 crores.
The agency claimed it made recoveries from the evaders. Of the Rs 29088 crores evaded, Rs 5427 crores has been recovered. Of this, Rs 3124 was recovered from cases evading GST, Rs 2174 crores in the case of service tax, and Rs 128 crores for central excise.
The agency claims that law enforcement officials had tightened rules and hence more recoveries may be likely. However evasion figures were reportedly on the lower side, since they did not include the figures reported by field officers from the Central Bureau of Indirect Taxes and Customs.
The ministry and agencies such as DGGI have increased their focus on checking evasion. In September, an office of the Commissioner of GST (Investigation) headed by Neeraj Prasad was set up. Informant reward schemes for central excise and service tax have been extended to GST. The scheme itself has been modified to offer rewards to officers from government agencies such as police, BSF (Border Security Force), CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) and the Coast Guard.
The reward, sources say is an eligibility for 20% of net sale-proceeds of contraband goods seized or amount of duty and service tax evasion plus penalty levied and recovered.