New Delhi, October 22, 2017

Just 3.94 million of the total 8 million assessees filed their GSTR 3B returns till Friday, sources said

Even three months after the roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST), the level of compliance continues to be low in filing returns. In fact, less than half of assessees filed summary returns under the GST for September, for which the deadline was October 20.

Government officials claimed the latest data was similar to that in the previous two months. But there are signs of worry and tax experts are nudging the authorities to figure out why such large number of assesses are not filing returns.

Just 3.94 million of the total 8 million assessees filed their GSTR 3B returns till Friday, sources said.

Abhishek Rastogi of Khaitan & Co said, “The compliance level is still unexpectedly about 50 per cent. Is it due to the deadline being near the festive season? The better mechanism would be to analyse the reasons for the non-filers.”  

Time has come when the government should send a gentle reminder to such assessees, according to Rastogi.

Aditya Singhania of Taxmann said lack of awareness and confusion among the people at ground zero were among the reasons for poor filing of returns for September.

Singhania believes many may have not filed the returns due to the GST Council's decision to allow those having a turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore of annual turnover to file quarterly returns. The very fact that the decision would be effective when notification is issued is not known to many assessees, he said.  

On Friday, GSTN chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey had said that during the first two months, businesses  also uploaded returns after the end of due date and that the number for September retuns would go up eventually.

“If we look at the network, GSTN is using only 30 per cent of the capacity. So there is a lot of headroom available for the server to upload more number of returns,” Pandey had said.

Half the assessees fail to file GST returns for September
By the deadline of September 20, only 2.97 million summary returns were filed for the month of August, while 1.8 million returns were submitted for the month of July by the first deadline of August 20 (which was later extended).

However, filers submitted returns after the deadline by paying late fee and penalty for taxes.

For July and August, 5.57 million and 5 million returns had been filed, fetching Rs 95,000 crore and Rs 92,000 crore as taxes, respectively.

GSTR 3B is summary returns of sale and input purchases filed by assessees to pay taxes by the deadline of 20th of the following month. Since the roll-out of the GST on July 1, this is the third month for which businesses have had to file GSTR-3B returns.

These returns would be available only till December filing. After that, detailed supply returns have to be filed till 10th of the following month on the basis of which auto populated returns will be generated for inputs.

[The Business Standard]