New Delhi, November 21, 2017

GST Council had announced forming the committee on Nov 10 to suggest ways for simplification of the returns filing process

The government on Tuesday constituted a 10-member committee under GSTN chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey to look into the requirements of filing returns in current financial year.

The committee, which has tax commissioners from the state of Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, will also suggest if modifications, including changes in rules, laws and format, are required in returns. It will submit the report by December 15.

"We are also discussing with experts and taking opinion from various other stakeholders as to what simplification could be achieved. The whole idea is that people who are nil filers, who have no sale/purchase transactions, have taken a registration for some future use, they should be able to file GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B by pressing just a few buttons. That is our ultimate aim," Pandey told PTI.

As many as 40 per cent of the businesses filing returns on GST Network (GSTN) portal have nil tax liability.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council had announced forming the committee on November 10 to suggest ways for simplification of the returns filing process.

It has also decided to keep in abeyancetill March 31the filing of GSTR-2 (purchase returns) and GSTR-3 (the matching of sales and purchase returns).

Now, businesses will have to file simplified initial GSTR-3B forms till March, along with sales returns GSTR-1.

"The committee would look into simplification exercise because all (GST returns) are intricately connected," Pandey said, when asked if the committee would focus on only GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 or all the returns under GST.

The committee will collect feedback from people, the trade and industry and study the whole system in detail and then come out with an appropriate plan.

"If people have very minimal transactions, they should be able to file both the returns in a manner without going through full complications.

Therefore, the display of the forms will be based on certain questions and the questions posed to the dealer," Pandey said.

He added that the panel will also look into what information on returns should be taken and at what frequency.

Pandey said the ultimate goal will be to provide convenience to people so that those who are filing the returns can do so without any difficulty.

Pandey is the convener of the Committee, while Manish Kumar Sinha Commissioner (Central Excise) CBEC is the Member Secretary.

The other members of the committee include Udai Singh Kumawat (Joint Secretary Revenue Department), Upender Gupta (Commissioner) GST, Prakash Kumar GSTN CEO and P D Vaghela (CCT Gujarat).

According to the 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 form for a month is filed on the 20th day of the next month after paying due taxes.

According to the GSTN data, a huge chunk of businesses file their returns after the expiry of the due date.

While only 33.98 lakh July returns were filed by the due date, the number has now gone up to 55.87 lakh.

Similarly for August, 28.46 lakh returns were filed till the last date, but the figure went up to 51.37 lakh later.

Also, for September, while 39.4 lakh returns were filed by the due date, the number is rising and was over 42 lakh till October 24.

Also, the Council earlier this month substantially lowered late return filing fees for businesses from the Rs 200 at present.

Businesses with nil tax liability will now have to pay only Rs 20 as late fee for delayed filing of return while for the rest, the fee is Rs 50.

[The Business Standard]