With an aim to help curb tax evasion, the GST officers have now been armed with real-time data of commercial vehicle movement on highways with integration of the e-way bill (EWB) system with FasTag and RFID.
The e-way bill mobile application of the tax officers has been updated with additional features, which will provide them real-time tracking details of e-way bill and vehicle to help them nab tax evaders who are misusing the e-way bill system.
Under the goods and services tax (GST) regime, e-way bills have been made mandatory for the inter-state transportation of goods which are valued over Rs 50,000 from April 2018. However, gold is exempted from the same.
In the electronic way (e-way) bill system, businesses and transporters have to produce before a GST inspector the e-way bill, if asked.
On an average 25 lakh goods vehicle movements from more than 800 tolls are reported on a daily basis to the e-way bill system.
This integration of e-way bill, RFID and FasTag will enable tax officers to undertake live vigilance in respect of e-way bill compliances by businesses and will help prevent revenue leakage by real-time identification of cases of recycling of EWBs, non-generation of EWBs.
Any Taxmen will now be able to access reports on vehicles that have passed the selected tolls without e-way bills in the past few minutes. Furthermore, the vehicles travelling with critical commodities specific to the state and have passed the selected toll can be viewed.
In this report, any suspicious vehicles and vehicles of EWBs generated by suspicious taxpayer GSTINs, that have passed the selected toll on a near real time basis, can also be viewed.
The officers can use these reports while conducting vigilance and make the vigilance activity more effective. Also, these reports can be used by the officers of audit and enforcement wing to identify the fraudulent transactions like bill trading, recycling of EWBs.
Online real-time tracking of vehicles and goods would go a long way in tightening the lid on tax evaders. This mobile application for tax officers would empower them to catch hold of all the stakeholders involved in clandestine removal of goods.”~ Rajat Mohan, Senior Partner, AMRG Associates
CBIC had earlier conveyed its intention to further digitise the process of enforcement of e-way bill provisions under the GST law, and in line with this idea, the e-way bill system has now been integrated with the FasTag and RFID system, and MIS (Management Information Systems) reports from the same will made available on officer’s mobile app.”~ Abhishek Jain, EY India Tax Patner
He further added, ‘This is a commendable move on the part of government and points towards the development in the field of technology and how the government is pro-active in using the same to ensure tax compliance and track fraudulent activities,’
Earlier, Last month in a report titled ‘E-way Bill – A journey of three years’, the government informed that 180 crore e-way bills have been generated in three years till March 2021. Out of these only 7 crore bills were verified by tax officers.
In fiscal year 2020-21 which ended on March 2021, a total of 61.68 crore e-way bills were generated and of this 2.27 crore were picked up for verification.
The previous fiscal 2019-20 that ended March 2020, saw a total of 62.88 crore e-way bill generation, out of which 3.01 crore were picked up for verification by tax officers.
The maximum number of e-way bill for inter-state movement of goods were generated in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
In the past three months, the top five sectors where maximum e-way bills were generated are textiles, electrical machinery, machinery and mechanical appliances, iron and steel, and automobiles.
On January 1, 2021, the government has integrated RFID/FasTag with the e-way bill system and a transporter is required to have a RFID tag in his vehicle and details of the e-way bill generated for goods being carried by the vehicle is uploaded into the RFID.
When the vehicle passes the RFID Tag reader on the highway, the details fed into the device gets uploaded on the government portal.
This information is later used by the revenue officials to validate the supplies made by a GST registered person.
The government has also begin blocking of EWB bill generation if a GST registered taxpayer has not filed GSTR- 3B return for the last two successive months. This move is taken to improve tax compliance.
Also, the government has blocked the generation of multiple EWBs on one invoice. If the EWB is once generated using an invoice number or document number, then none of the other parties can generate another EWB using the same invoice number.
Besides, the e-way bills system has enabled auto calculation of distance based on PIN codes. The system will auto calculate the distance between the source and destination, based on PIN codes.