With the government in discussion stage about revamping the returns filing process under the goods and services tax (GST) regime, GST Network’s CEO Prakash Kumar on Wednesday said that they will need time to prepare the software network to support the revisions. “We would need time. How much time will be required depends on how much change is there. Software is like building a house, if you need only small things changed, then it needs less time. But if you want to remove doors and windows and increase the area of balcony, then it will take time. So, it all depends on what the new structure is going to be. How different it’s going to be from GSTR-3B and GSTR-1,” Kumar told The Indian Express.
There are going to be more deliberations about the proposed returns simplification and some more state finance ministers may join the process to have a “considered view” on the matter, Kumar said. When asked about the deadlock regarding whether or not the input tax credit availment should be linked to tax payment under GST, Kumar said, “That is what the committee’s report talks about. Now, the GoM under Sushil Modi will look into it. And I believe they are going to be more consideration about it. Some more state FMs may join the process so that a considered view is taken.”
The GST Council in its 25th meeting on March 10 had discussed the proposed returns simplification but did not reach a consensus as the tax bureaucracy emphasised on removing any scope for evasion along with flagging issues related to allowing input tax credit through simultaneous upload of invoices, as has been proposed by Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani. Tax officials have opposed automatic approval of input tax credit and have raised concerns about whether or not provisional input tax credit should be allowed and whether or not input tax credit should be linked with tax payments under GST.
On the impending launch e-way bill for inter-state movement of goods from April 1, Kumar emphasised that GSTN is ready for the implementation, but only 11 lakh tax assessees of GST have registered for e-way bill so far and the numer is expected to increase going ahead. The total registrants under GST are about 1.05 crore (till March 25), out of which 18.17 lakh are composition dealers who are required to file quarterly returns and the rest 86.37 lakh taxpayers are required to file monthly returns.
“People are generating 6-7 lakh e-way bills daily. We have ramped up infrastructure, tested it several times. Have also told government to implement inter-state first before intra-state. See the main problem is there is no data to suggest how many bills will be generated daily. So earlier, it was based on one state, which proved to be inadequate. Now we have tripled the capacity. We will slowly get to know the numbers and further ramp up based on initial experience,” Kumar said.
Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, while speaking at the fifth Foundation Day of GSTN, also said that the e-way bill system is better prepared but traders and transporters may not be and appealed to them to register on the e-way bill portal. “…we are looking forward to the e-way bill, coming from April 1. Hopefully this time we are much better prepared…but I’m not too sure whether the traders, dealers, and transporters are still ready. I would like to appeal to them to register themselves on the e-way bill portal also,” Adhia said.
Adhia further said e-way bill for intra-state movement of goods would be launched after two weeks of inter-state rollout. “We will announce the schedule at least 3 days in advance, but not immediately because we want to observe how the e-way bill portal functions for inter-state movement of goods. After that we will try to bring it for intra-state (movement of goods),” he said.