Government has approved the exchange of information between the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the goods and services tax Network (GSTN). This move is intended to bolster investigations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). The data sharing is in accordance with section 66(1)(iii) of PMLA.
The PMLA was established to counteract terror funding and drug trafficking, among other financial crimes. The GSTN's extensive data, which includes detailed and sensitive information, is expected to significantly aid the ED's investigations.
The exchange of data will facilitate the sharing of information or material between the ED and GSTN, given they have reason to believe that the provisions of the GST have been contravened. This development is expected to enhance the authority's ability to restrict dubious businesses by identifying and apprehending the source of fraudulent transactions, thereby promoting a more compliant ecosystem.
The announcement of data sharing between ED and GSTN comes as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) marks six years since its implementation. Over this period, the GST has seen the number of taxpayers increase from approximately 68 lakh in 2017 to around 1.4 crore. The average monthly revenue has also seen a corresponding rise from nearly Rs 90,000 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 1.69 lakh crore in the current financial year.
This data-sharing initiative signals a notable step in strengthening the government's efforts in combating financial crime. By leveraging the granular data from the GSTN, the ED may be better equipped to conduct thorough investigations under the PMLA, thus creating a more compliant economic environment.