In a relief measure for trade and industry, the Finance Ministry has extended the last date for filing annual Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns by three months to March 31, 2019. “The competent authority has decided to extend the due date for filing Form GSTR-9, Form GSTR-9A and Form GSTR-9C till March 31, 2019. The requisite forms shall be made available on the GST common portal shortly,” the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said in a statement.
The annual returns form in which businesses registered under the GST have to provide consolidated details of sales, purchases and input tax credit (ITC) benefits accrued to them during 2017-18 fiscal was notified in September. The last date for filing was set at December 31, 2018. GSTR-9 is the annual return form for normal taxpayers, GSTR-9A is composition taxpayers, while GSTR-9C is a reconciliation statement
Trade and industry have been asking for an extension of deadline for filing the annual GST returns. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had earlier this week urged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to extend the last date of filing annual GST return up to March 31, 2019. EY Tax Partner Abhishek Jain said, “This was quite a sought after extension by the industry, specially for those industry players who have been struggling to collate the information required to be disclosed in GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C.”
Businesses struggling to meet deadline get relief
The extension of the due date for filing of the annual GST returns by three months offers relief to businesses that were struggling to meet the compliance deadline. These GST return forms — 9, 9A and 9C that relate to details of sales and purchases made — consolidate the information already furnished by industry in the monthly or quarterly returns. Annual returns are to be filed by normal taxpayers as well those paying a lower flat rate under the composition scheme. Industry has been seeking additional time to file annual returns on the grounds that compiling itemised details of purchases and sales and collating the entire information was time consuming.
PwC Partner and Leader (Indirect Tax) Pratik Jain said, “Industry, as well as consultants, were struggling with the December 31 deadline, given the volume of work involved including preparing a virtual P&L at a state level.”
Meanwhile, in a separate statement issued by the Finance Ministry, it reiterated the clarification on applicability of GST on real estate, saying there is no GST on sale of complex/building and ready to move-in flats where sale takes place after issuing of completion certificate by the competent authority, while GST is applicable on sale of under construction property or ready to move-in flats where completion certificate has not been issued at the time of sale.
Affordable housing projects, including the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Rajiv Awas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or any other housing scheme of state governments attract 8 per cent GST, which can be adjusted by builders against its accumulated input tax credit (ITC), it said. “For such (affordable housing) projects, after offsetting ITC, the builder or developer in most cases will not be required to pay GST in cash as the builder would have enough ITC in his books of account to pay the output GST,” the statement said.
In pre-GST era, on the output side, service tax of 4.5 per cent, VAT of 1 per cent to 5 per cent (composition scheme) was levied which has now changed to 8 per cent for affordable housing segment and 12 per cent after one-third abatement of value of land, which is outside the ambit of GST.
Before GST, no ITC of VAT and central excise duty paid was available to the builder for payment of output tax, hence it got embedded in the value of properties. “Considering that goods constitute approximately 45 per cent of the value, embedded ITC was approximately 10- 12 per cent. The effective pre-GST tax incidence was 15- 18 per cent,” it said.
Under GST, ITC is available and weighted average of ITC incidence is approximately 8 to 10 per cent. “Effective GST incidence, for affordable segment and for other segment has not increased as compared to pre- GST regime,” the statement said.
The ministry also asked builders to reduce prices of properties by passing on the benefit of lower GST rate to customers. “Builders are also required to pass on the benefits of lower tax burden to buyers of property by way of reduced prices/ installments, where effective tax rate has been down.”