New Delhi, April 20, 2017

But compliance burden may increase

Businesses will now be permitted to keep accounts and records on their computers under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as well as file online applications for advance rulings and appeals and revisions against tax orders.

These have been proposed by the Central Board of Excise and Customs in the draft rules for accounts and records under GST.

However, in what could increase the compliance burden for them, they would also be expected to maintain separate accounts of each activity including manufacture, trading, supplies, balance, as well as invoices and bills for all transactions.

The rules have proposed that all registered persons will also have to maintain records of monthly production, including details of raw materials and final goods as well as details of suppliers and retailers and warehouses where goods are stored.

Stock registers would also have to maintain details of goods lost, stolen, destroyed, written off or disposed of by way of gift or free samples.

“Every registered person shall keep the books of account at the principal place of business and at every related places of business mentioned in his certificate of registration and such books of account shall include any electronic form of data stored on any electronic device,” said the draft rules.

Further, once an entry is made in registers, accounts and documents, they can not be erased or corrected without attestation and if the registers are in electronic form, a log of every deleted entry would have to be maintained.

Meanwhile, a separate set of draft rules on advance ruling under GST proposes that the Centre and the State government will appoint an officer in the rank of Joint Secretary with at least three years of experience at the level as a member of the Authority for Advance Ruling.

Applications for advance rulings can be filed on the GST Network portal along with a fee of Rs.5,000. Appeals against the advance ruling would entail a fee of Rs.10,000. The draft rules for appeals and revisions that applications to the appellate tribunal can be filed online but physical hard copies of the application and a certified copy of the decision or order appealed would have to be submitted within seven days of filing of the appeal.
Appeal option

The draft rules have also prohibited providing additional information or evidence to the Appellate Tribunal during hearing of the case. In case they are not satisfied with the order of the Appellate authority or Tribunal, taxpayers can then appeal to the High Court.

Experts welcomed the move to allow electronic or digital maintenance of records and filing of appeals. But they said that the compliance burden would significantly increase.

“We will have to see the impact of the proposed move on the service industry and how it plans to maintain accounts showing the quantitative details of goods used in the provision of each service, details of input services utilised and the services supplied as it is now a mandatory norm under GST,” said Rakesh Nangia, Managing Partner, Nangia & Co, on the draft rules for accounts and records.

The CBEC has sought comments from the public on these draft rules by April 27 and these will be taken up for approval by the GST Council in its meeting on May 18 and 19.

[The Hindu Business Line]