GST authorities have detected GST fraud of ₹55,575 crore over the last two years and arrested over 700 persons for causing loss to the exchequer, an official said on Thursday.

Over 22,300 fake GST identification numbers (GSTIN) were detected by the officers of the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI).

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The government on November 9, 2020, launched a nationwide special drive against unscrupulous entities for availing and passing on Input Tax Credit (ITC) fraudulently by issuing fake/bogus invoices, thereby evading Goods and Services Tax (GST).

"In the two years of the special drive, GST/ITC fraud worth ₹55,575 crore has been detected. 719 persons have been arrested, which include 20 CA/CS professionals," the official told PTI.

Voluntary deposits of Goods and Services Tax (GST) worth ₹3,050 crore have been made during the period.

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The official did not disclose the recovery amount in these cases, but said it would be a "sizeable amount".

"Credible intelligence, coordination between intelligence agencies like DGGI, DRI, Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and CBI, have helped us crackdown on tax evaders," the official said.

The GST department is taking steps to curb evasion, including verification of registration, e-way bill requirement, and validation for filing GST returns, and also placed restrictions on the quantum of ITC that can be used by businesses for GST payment.

A nationwide GST, which subsumed 17 local levies like excise duty, service tax and VAT and 13 cesses, was rolled out on July 1, 2017.

"In the recent years, the department has stepped up action against fake ITC claims. The steps taken by GST officers have definitely improved compliance and that is getting reflected in monthly GST collection," the official said.

In October, GST revenues registered the second-highest collection ever at nearly ₹1.52 lakh crore, second only to April when the mop-up was about ₹1.68 lakh crore.

GST mop-up has been over ₹1.40-lakh crore for eight months in a row, while for the two months it has crossed the ₹1.50 lakh crore mark.

With economic activity gaining momentum and improved compliance, officials expect ₹1.50 lakh crore to be the 'new normal' for monthly GST revenues.

GST revenue in April was about ₹1.68 lakh crore, May (₹1.41 lakh crore), June (₹1.45 lakh crore), July (₹1.49 lakh crore), August (₹1.44 lakh crore), September (₹1.48 lakh crore) and October (₹1.52 lakh crore).