Around 56% of the registered taxpayers have filed their GSTR-3B returns for October by 20 November, says GSTN
Taxpayer compliance under the goods and services tax (GST) system is steadily improving with 4.4 million assessees filing summary of the transactions made in October, an improvement of 11% from the filings reported for the previous month, said an official statement from GSTN, the company that processes tax returns.
The statement said the number of taxpayers filing their GSTR 3B returns showed a “marked improvement” with the highest number of assessees filing returns for October till 20th November 2017.
Around 56% of the registered taxpayers have filed their GSTR-3B returns for October by 20 November, it said. The “steady increase” in filings is encouraging, the statement said further, citing chairman Prakash Kumar.
“The trend of taxpayers filing their returns on the last day continues though. Taxpayers are urged to file their returns early to avoid last minute hassles” Kumar said.
Over 3.9 million assessees filed the summary return for September and over 2.8 million for August.
Close to 1.5 million taxpayers filed their returns on 20 November, the highest number of filings in a day.
Punjab topped the list of states in compliance. About 73% of taxpayers in Punjab filed their GSTR 3B returns for October by the deadline.
Federal indirect tax body, the GST Council, has taken a series of steps including deadline relaxations, waiver of late fee, suspension of invoice matching and simplification of forms to encourage voluntary compliance under the new indirect tax regime.
Increasing the fear of an unravelling of the exercise of invoices-matching, which is crucial to realising the presumed merits of the goods and services tax (GST), like reduction of tax evasion and cascades, three-fourths of the 60 lakh eligible taxpayers haven’t completed the formalities of filing both the inward and outward supplies-based returns for July till a day before the October 31 deadline. This has forced the government to give another window till November-end “to facilitate about 30.81 lakh taxpayers” to file details of inward supplies (GSTR-2). The triplicate comprehensive returns for July, the first month since GST’s launch, were originally required to be filed in the subsequent month itself, but due to the GST Network’s technical glitches and low levels of compliance, the deadlines have been extended multiple times. The schedule for filing these returns for August onwards has not even been announced yet, as this was to follow from the July-cycle learning. While invoice-matching is getting unduly delayed, piling up a huge job for the taxmen, the consequent blockage of input tax credits is bound to hit the working capital for large sections of the industry.
Since the launch of GST, small and medium enterprises have faced cash crunch, while exporters have got the refunds of July and August taxes only recently. Of course, the government has allowed industries with turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore to file the detailed returns on a quarterly basis while assuring them of prompt release of input tax credits claimed via monthly interim returns, but the deferment of invoices-matching would mean large-scale adjustments of the tax and ITC figures later. The government has faced much criticism for the imperfections of the GST it launched (multiple rates, high peak rates, exclusion of real estate and five petro- leum products etc). Also, since the GST was introduced, it has had to make more compromises that besmirched the new tax further. While dozens of items saw rate changes post-July, the GST Council, on October 6, accorded virtual tax waiver for exporters till March 31, 2018, despite exemptions running contrary to the GST’s basic tenet.
Besides, units with up to Rs 1.5 crore turnover were allowed to file quarterly instead of monthly returns, a move that would allow 90% of the non-composition GST registrants to shift to the easier system of filing returns every quarter, but could make prompt invoices-matching difficult. As reported by FE on Monday, the council may allow all taxpayers to move to quarterly mode of filing returns as it meets at Guwahati on November 10. The composition scheme — that allows businesses to pay taxes as a small percentage of turnover annually — is set to be made available to units with turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore, in what could effectively exclude 90% of the taxpayers from being part of the multi-point destination-based tax chain.
GST Network, which is the IT backbone of GST, estimates that about 80 crore invoices would be uploaded on to the system every month. A tax official said that even if 2-3 crore of the invoices don’t match, it will lead to numerous disputes, which would be arduous to resolve. “Besides, tax evasion takes place when transactions are off-book which will never be captured through invoices. The government needs precise and visible enforcement to minimise tax evasion,” the official said. To begin with, GST Council should have implemented matching at the GST level where sale and purchase are matched on the basis of the unique GST registration number of each taxpayer. Invoice matching should ideally have been brought in a few months later after the system stabilised. Now that some taxpayers are allowed to file returns only quarterly, the matching should also be harmonised with it and not be carried out every month.
These steps alone will make the process smoother,” Rahul Renavikar, managing director of Acuris Advisors said. Aditya Singhania, of Taxmann, said: “The matching concept is a much appreciated step for allowing input tax credit which is regulated by the GSTR 1, 2 and 3 mechanism. But with the brilliant concept, the IT platform of GST i.e. www.gst.gov.in should equally work in same wavelength for achieving the objective. Due to certain bugs and frictions, coupled with totally new forms of returns, taxpayers were unable to file the (returns) on time.” While industrialised states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka among others had invoice-matching systems prior to GST, although these were not granular-level matching. A Maharashtra tax official, who requested anonymity, said that matching at the level of VAT number –much simpler than invoice-level matching – had enabled identification of 80% mismatches, which enabled the tax department to take action against hawala operations.
However, some tax officials have doubted the efficacy of invoice-matching, saying this wasn’t much of a success in any country with GST-type tax. “The first two month would pose immense challenges on how to deal with invoice mismatches and the provision may eventually have to be done away with,” a revenue department officials told FE on the condition of anonymity. The tax department is also worried that about 40% of taxpayers who filed the returns for July have claimed nil-tax liability. “It is indeed a large number. If enforcement is required, we will carry it out, though not in the nature of search and seizure. We may opt for discreet inquiries and meetings with such groups of taxpayers, to find out the reasons for the trend,” revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia had told FE earlier.
Exporters can soon start claiming refunds for GST paid in August and September as GSTN will this week launch an online application for processing of refund, its Chief Executive Officer Prakash Kumar said today.
GST Network (GSTN), the company handling IT infrastructure for the indirect tax regime, has from October 10 started issuing refunds to exporters for Integrated GST (IGST) they paid for the month of July, after matching GSTR-3B and GSTR-1.
For August and September, while the initial return GSTR- 3B has already been filed, the final return GSTR-1 has not yet been filed.
“A separate online app for claiming Integrated GST (IGST) refunds for August and September would be made available on GSTN portal this week,” Kumar told .
GSTN has developed the app wherein exporters can save and upload their sales data which are part of GSTR-1 after filling up export details in Table 6A.
The table will be then extracted separately and after exporters digitally sign it, it would automatically go to the customs department.
The customs department will then validate the information provided in the table with the shipping bill data and also the taxes paid in GSTR-3B. The refund amount would be either credited to exporter’s bank account through ECS or a cheque would be issued.
As per data, 55.87 lakh GSTR-3B returns were filed for July, 51.37 lakh for August and over 42 lakh for September. Preliminary returns GSTR-3B for a month is filed on the 20th day of the next month after paying due taxes.
Thereafter, final returns in form GSTR-1, 2, 3 are filed by businesses giving invoice wise details of sales. The final return filing for August and September has not started yet.
Over July-August, an estimated Rs 67,000 crore has accumulated as the Integrated GST (IGST), of which only about Rs 5,000-10,000 crore will be due as refunds to exporters.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST), the amalgamation of over a dozen indirect taxes like excise duty and VAT, does not provide for any exemption, and so exporters are required to first pay Integrated-GST (IGST) on manufactured goods and claim refunds after exporting them. This had put severe liquidity crunch, particularly on aggregators or merchant exporters.
To ease their problems, the GST Council earlier this month decided a package for them that includes extending the Advance Authorisation / Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) / 100 per cent EOU (Export Oriented Unit) schemes to sourcing inputs from abroad as well as domestic suppliers till March 31, thus not requiring to pay IGST.
The government is aiming to clear pending GST refunds of exporters by November-end. The first cheque after processing of July refunds was issued on October 10.
The tax department has sought explanations from banks and financial institutions, including multinationals, on transitional credit claimed by them in July under the goods and services tax (GST) regime, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said. Deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners (central tax) have issued ‘information summons’ in the last seven days seeking data in five specific areas “by e-mail/hard copy”.
These include past sales tax records; summary of closing balance of tax (as of June); description of the nature of credits; details of vendor invoices prior to July 1; and details of payments made to vendors and service providers after July 1. Transitional credit refers to tax credits on sales tax, excise and valued-added tax accumulated before July 1 on pre-GST stock.
Such credit can be set off against liabilities of the July-started GST.
Taxmen suspect some companies are misusing the provision and have filed fake returns to claim high transitional credits. Of the total Rs 95,000 crore GST collected in July, about Rs 65,000 crore was claimed in refunds or transitional credit. The move comes about two weeks after tax officers questioned manufacturing companies on transitional credit claimed by them.
ET was the first to report on September 21that about 5,000 such companies had been questioned by the taxman over transitional credit claims. For now, tax officers are only scrutinising transition credit for sales tax and excise. The data obtained from the banks and financial institutions will be examined for any discrepancies.
The firms said they haven’t been given much time to provide the information. “We had received the notice few days back and haven’t been able to submit it due to the enormity of information sought,” said the finance head of a major multinational bank. “A tax officer called me today (on Friday) and asked me to submit the required documents by Saturday.”
The finance head cited the tax officer as saying the transitional credit claimed by the bank was high. “I tried to explain that transitional credit has to be viewed in the context of our monthly tax outgo. But we will be submitting the required information nevertheless by Saturday,” he said. Experts said many companies are yet to submit transitional credit details, which has to be done through the Transform.
“Since the date for filing the Tran-1 form has been extended to October 31, it would be prudent to commence any enquiries thereafter,” said MS Mani, partner, Deloitte India. “It is advisable to consider the data submitted in the Tran-1 form and then enquire into those cases where any anomalies are detected instead of subjecting the entire data submitted by erstwhile service tax payers to any form of scrutiny.”
The pressure on tax officials increased after a letter by a senior member of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) was sent on Wednesday to all tax commissioners. ET has seen the letter. “In view of the urgency of the matter kindly have the verification of transitional credit completed on priority (in respect of list of taxpayers forwarded on 11/9/2017) and a report on the same to be sent on this office not later than 15/10/2017,” the letter read. The letter also asked tax officers to submit a detailed analysis of transitional credit claims. This is expected to be submitted by November 3.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs had in September sent a list to all commissioners and joint commissioners that included state-wise details of companies, the GST number and transition credit amount. Tax officers had started calling all the companies whose transitional credit numbers seemed high to them.
More than three months after the Goods and Services (GST) was introduced, the GST Council made a number of big changes today, to give some relief to small and medium businesses (SMEs) on filing and payment of taxes. The panel also eased rules for exporters and cut tax rates on some items. Those businesses with annual turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore and which constitute 90 percent of the taxpayer base but pay only 5-6 percent of overall tax, have been permitted to file quarterly income returns. “GST Council has considered the implementation experience of the last 3 months and gave relief to small traders… Compliance burden of medium and small taxpayers in GST has been reduced,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. The SMEs had earlier complained of tedious compliance burden under the new regime. Below is the full text of the recommends made by GST today:
The GST Council, in its 22nd Meeting which was held today in the national capital under Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley has recommended the following facilitative changes to ease the burden of compliance on small and medium businesses:
1. The composition scheme shall be made available to taxpayers having annual aggregate turnover of up to Rs. 1 crore as compared to the current turnover threshold of Rs. 75 lacs. This threshold of turnover for special category States, except Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, shall be increased to Rs. 75 lacs from Rs. 50 lacs. The turnover threshold for Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand shall be Rs. 1 crore. The facility of availing composition under the increased threshold shall be available to both migrated and new taxpayers up to 31.03.2018. The option once exercised shall become operational from the first day of the month immediately succeeding the month in which the option to avail the composition scheme is exercised. New entrants to this scheme shall have to file the return in FORM GSTR-4 only for that portion of the quarter from when the scheme becomes operational and shall file returns as a normal taxpayer for the preceding tax period. The increase in the turnover threshold will make it possible for greater number of taxpayers to avail the benefit of easier compliance under the composition scheme and is expected to greatly benefit the MSME sector.
2. Persons who are otherwise eligible for composition scheme but are providing any exempt service (such as extending deposits to banks for which interest is being received) were being considered ineligible for the said scheme. It has been decided that such persons who are otherwise eligible for availing the composition scheme and are providing any exempt service, shall be eligible for the composition scheme.
3. A Group of Ministers (GoM) shall be constituted to examine measures to make the composition scheme more attractive.
Relief for Small and Medium Enterprises
4. Presently, anyone making inter-state taxable supplies, except inter-State job worker, is compulsorily required to register, irrespective of turnover. It has now been decided to exempt those service providers whose annual aggregate turnover is less than Rs. 20 lacs (Rs. 10 lacs in special category states except J & K) from obtaining registration even if they are making inter-State taxable supplies of services. This measure is expected to significantly reduce the compliance cost of small service providers.
5. To facilitate the ease of payment and return filing for small and medium businesses with annual aggregate turnover up to Rs. 1.5 crores, it has been decided that such taxpayers shall be required to file quarterly returns in FORM GSTR-1,2 & 3 and pay taxes only on a quarterly basis, starting from the Third Quarter of this Financial Year i.e. October-December, 2017. The registered buyers from such small taxpayers would be eligible to avail ITC on a monthly basis. The due dates for filing the quarterly returns for such taxpayers shall be announced in due course. Meanwhile, all taxpayers will be required to file FORM GSTR-3B on a monthly basis till December, 2017. All taxpayers are also required to file FORM GSTR-1, 2 & 3 for the months of July, August and September, 2017. Due dates for filing the returns for the month of July, 2017 have already been announced. The due dates for the months of August and September, 2017 will be announced in due course.
6. The reverse charge mechanism under sub-section (4) of section 9 of the CGST Act, 2017 and under sub-section (4) of section 5 of the IGST Act, 2017 shall be suspended till 31.03.2018 and will be reviewed by a committee of experts. This will benefit small businesses and substantially reduce compliance costs.
7. The requirement to pay GST on advances received is also proving to be burdensome for small dealers and manufacturers. In order to mitigate their inconvenience on this account, it has been decided that taxpayers having annual aggregate turnover up to Rs. 1.5 crores shall not be required to pay GST at the time of receipt of advances on account of supply of goods. The GST on such supplies shall be payable only when the supply of goods is made.
8. It has come to light that Goods Transport Agencies (GTAs) are not willing to provide services to unregistered persons. In order to remove the hardship being faced by small unregistered businesses on this account, the services provided by a GTA to an unregistered person shall be exempted from GST.
Other Facilitation Measures
9. After assessing the readiness of the trade, industry and Government departments, it has been decided that registration and operationalization of TDS/TCS provisions shall be postponed till 31.03.2018.
10. The e-way bill system shall be introduced in a staggered manner with effect from 01.01.2018 and shall be rolled out nationwide with effect from 01.04.2018. This is in order to give trade and industry more time to acclimatize itself with the GST regime.
11. The last date for filing the return in FORM GSTR-4 by a taxpayer under composition scheme for the quarter July-September, 2017 shall be extended to 15.11.2017. Also, the last date for filing the return in FORM GSTR-6 by an input service distributor for the months of July, August and September, 2017 shall be extended to 15.11.2017.
12. Invoice Rules are being modified to provide relief to certain classes of registered persons.
While the number of businesses registered for the goods and services tax (GST) has crossed 90 lakh, much higher than tax base in the previous regime, filing of even the interim (summarised) returns and tax payments are not keeping pace. Just over 30 lakh taxpayers have filed the interim return (GSTR-3B) for August, before the stipulated September 20 deadline, GST Network (GSTN) chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey told FE. The glitches plaguing GSTN, the inability of a sizeable section of SMEs to comply and a general lackadaisical tendency among taxpayers are said to be reasons for the slack in the return-filing process. But the filing pace for August was not much slower than it for July GST — by August 20, the initial deadline for GST payment for July, only 32 lakh taxpayers filed the interim return and made tax payments; the figure rose to 39 lakh by August 29, the extended deadline without penal interest, and then to 49 lakh till date.
While about Rs 92,300 crore was collected as GST for July till August 20, a similar amount has been paid by the taxpayers till Wednesday for August GST, sources said. To make things easier for the business, the GST Council had extended the last dates for filing detailed returns — GSTR1, GSTR2 and GSTR3 — but businesses need to pay the tax with GSTR-3B filing. However, the slow pace at which even the interim returns are being filed is vexing the government — a TV channel reported that finance minister Arun Jaitley has asked the Central Board of Excise and Customs to submit daily reports of GST filings. With the GSTR1 for outward supplies for the month of July can now be filed until October 10 and GSTR2 for inward supplies by October 31, the government is now putting in place an interim arrangement for refund of taxes to exporters, as waiting for these funds for longer periods could hit the liquidity of thousands of exporters. Pandey said that some assessees were still filing return for July along with August. For July, there were nearly 60 lakh eligible taxpayers and this number must have moved up for August and new registrants are being added.
Pandey said the GSTN portal could handle the sudden rush in filings in the last two to three days, which displayed its robustness. He said GSTN accepted up to 85,000 returns per hour on Wednesday, as nearly 14 lakh assessees filed the interim summarised return on that day. While the government is keeping its fingers crossed on the GST revenue, analysts expect it to cut rates — at least for the goods that fall under 28% slab — given the robustness of collections. The government is closely examining the huge transitional credit claims of Rs 65,000 crore by the industry — these can be availed of by the industry against its supplies in the next six months. Sanjay Garg, partner, indirect tax, KPMG in India, said: “Expansion in the tax base at the outset due to the applicability of GST on transactions not taxed before would likely shrink after the industry avails the credit generated by payment of tax on such newly-taxable transactions. The GST collections might decline. It is apparent that fingers would remain crossed at least for next two quarters of (FY18).” Earlier this month, the GST Council had constituted a group of ministers (GoM) under Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi, to resolve issues faced by businesses while filing returns and paying taxes on GSTN portal. The GoM met earlier this week, and assured taxpayers that most technical glitches in GSTN would be resolved by October-end.
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
09-September-2017 20:19 IST
The GST Council, in its 21st meeting held at Hyderabad on 9th September 2017, has recommended the following measures to facilitate taxpayers:
a) In view of the difficulties being faced by taxpayers in filing returns, the following revised schedule has been approved:
Details / Return
Revised due date
For registered persons with aggregate turnover of more than Rs. 100 crores, the due date shall be 3rd October 2017
18-Oct-17 (no change)
Table-4 under GSTR-4 not to be filled for the quarter July-September 2017. Requirement of filing GSTR-4A for this quarter is dispensed with.
Due dates for filing of the above mentioned returns for subsequent periods shall be notified at a later date.
b) GSTR-3B will continue to be filed for the months of August to December, 2017.
c) A registered person (whether migrated or new registrant), who could not opt for composition scheme, shall be given the option to avail composition till 30th September 2017 and such registered person shall be permitted to avail the benefit of composition scheme with effect from 1st October, 2017.
d) Presently, any person making inter-state taxable supplies is not eligible for threshold exemption of Rs. 20 lacs (Rs. 10 lacs in special category states except J & K) and is liable for registration. It has been decided to allow an exemption from registration to persons making inter-State taxable supplies of handicraft goods upto aggregate turnover of Rs. 20 lacs as long as the person has a Permanent Account Number (PAN) and the goods move under the cover of an e-way bill, irrespective of the value of the consignment.
e) Presently, a job worker making inter-State taxable supply of job work service is not eligible for threshold exemption of Rs. 20 lacs (Rs. 10 lacs in special category states except J & K) and is liable for registration. It has been decided to exempt those job workers from obtaining registration who are making inter-State taxable supply of job work service to a registered person as long as the goods move under the cover of an e-way bill, irrespective of the value of the consignment. This exemption will not be available to job work in relation to jewellery, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares as covered under Chapter 71 which do not require e-way bill.
f) FORM GST TRAN-1 can be revised once.
g) The due date for submission of FORM GST TRAN-1 has been extended by one month i.e. 31st October, 2017.
h) The registration for persons liable to deduct tax at source (TDS) and collect tax at source (TCS) will commence from 18th September 2017. However, the date from which TDS and TCS will be deducted or collected will be notified by the Council later.
The GST Council has decided to set up a committee consisting of officers from both the Centre and the States under the chairmanship of the Revenue Secretary to examine the issues related to exports.
The GST Council has also decided to constitute a Group of Ministers to monitor and resolve the IT challenges faced during GST implementation.