GST council approves simplified tax return filing system

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in its 27th meeting held on Friday approved a simplified returns filing system for taxpayers, which will approximately take a year to come through. The Council also approved change in ownership structure of GSTN, the IT backbone of GST, to convert it into a fully owned government entity, with equal ownership of states and Centre.

The other proposals for incentives for digital transactions and sugar cess over and above 5 per cent GST and a cut in GST rate on ethanol were discussed but no final decision was taken. Two separate ministerial panels will be formed in next two days, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

All taxpayers, except composition dealers and dealers having nil transactions, will be required to file one monthly return and a three-stage transition period has been proposed, after which input tax credit will be provided only on the seller uploaded invoices.

Till the time the transition to the new return filing process happens, the present system of GSTR-3B and GSTR-1 shall continue. First stage will continue for a period not exceeding six months by which new return software would be ready.

In stage two, which will be for another six months, the new return will have facility for invoice-wise data upload and also facility for claiming input tax credit on self declaration basis, as in case of GSTR 3B now. During this stage 2, the dealer will be constantly fed with information about gap between credit available to them as per invoices uploaded by their sellers and the provisional credit being claimed by them.

In stage three, GSTR-3B and provisional credit will be withdrawn and only the new return will be operational. Change in GST returns filing system will require tweaking of GST-related laws, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said.

The panel on sugar cess and ethanol rate reduction will give its recommendations to the Council by next two weeks, while the committee to look into incentives for digital transactions will submit its recommendations by the next Council meeting. The government will also need to bring in an ordinance to facilitate imposition sugar cess, Adhia said.

The Council had discussed a proposal wherein a 2 per cent concession, subject to a ceiling of Rs 100 per transaction, may be offered to consumers in B2C transactions if they pay through cheque or digital mode to incentivise digital payments.

Source: TH