New Delhi, February 23, 2018

Businesses are likely to get significant relief and more certainty about filing monthly Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns, with an expert committee set to meet on Saturday and make key recommendations.

The Group of Ministers led by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi is expected to finalise a single-page monthly return for GST. Taxpayers would also have to upload annexures of sales and purchase.

This is expected to reduce the compliance burden as taxpayers were originally expected to file three returns every month, outlining their sales and purchases as well as the summarised GSTR 3-B.

The annexures are also expected to include counter-party GSTIN, invoice date and number, taxable value and place of supply.

The government is also likely to continue the system of filing HS (harmonised system) Codes as part of the monthly returns.

Sources said matching of returns may be started gradually after the new system of return filing stabilises.

Significantly, there is also talk on whether the mix of monthly and quarterly returns should continue or whether all businesses should only file a monthly return.

“Settlement of tax credit and also detection of any mismatches will be faster if all businesses file a monthly return,” said a source.

Easing last-minute flood

The committee is also expected to approve a plan for staggered filing of returns under which large businesses can file returns by the 10th of the next month, while smaller taxpayers can file by the 20th.

At present, businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs.1.5 crore have to file a GSTR-1 every quarter, while those with a turnover above Rs.1.5 crore file returns on the 10th day of the succeeding month.

“This will lower the pressure on the GST Network, which sees huge amounts of tax returns being filed on the last date,” said the source.

The GOM is expected to finalise the proposal and place it before the GST Council, which is likely to meet on March 10.

The timing of the switch to the new process also has to be finalised. While some States are of the view that it can start from the new financial year (from April 1), sources said the GSTN may require more time to tweak its software.

Key members of the return simplification committee, including Nandan Nilekani, CBEC Excise Commissioner Manish Kumar Sinha and GSTN Chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey, met Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia earlier this week.

[The Hindu Business Line]