The government, for the fourth time, extended the deadline for annual returns and audit reports under Goods and Services Tax (GST) for 2017-18 and 2018-19, the first two years of the rollout of the indirect tax regime.
As a part of the ongoing efforts to address concerns raised on the process of filing GST returns, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also invited experts from five different domains, including tax practitioner associations, MSME sector, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, on Saturday.
Citing challenges being faced by taxpayers in filing of returns, the Centre said it has inter-alia allowed the taxpayers to not provide split of input tax credit availed on inputs, input services and capital goods and to not provide HSN level information of outputs or inputs. “The Government has decided today to extend the due dates of filing of Form GSTR-9 (Annual Return) and Form GSTR-9C (Reconciliation Statement) for Financial Year 2017-18 to 31st December 2019 and for Financial Year 2018-19 to 31st March 2020,” a Finance Ministry release said.
The move comes at a time when GST revenue has declined below last year’s levels. Though the Centre said this would simplify the process for taxpayers, as per tax experts, tax authorities would find it tough to match information provided by taxpayers in order to detect evasion.
GST collections in October contracted by 5.29 per cent to Rs 95,380 crore from Rs 1,00,710 crore in the year-ago month, marking the third instance of a contraction since the July 2017 rollout of the indirect tax regime. This was also the third straight month when GST mop-up remained below Rs 1 lakh crore.
“Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) today notified the amendments regarding the simplification of GSTR-9 (Annual Return) and GSTR-9C (Reconciliation Statement) which inter-alia allow the taxpayers to not to provide split of input tax credit availed on inputs, input services and capital goods and to not to provide HSN level information of outputs or inputs, etc. for the financial year 2017-18 and 2018-19,” the release stated.
GST was introduced in June 2017, but a proper invoices matching system never took shape. The annual return GSTR-9 was expected to be a step in that direction as it would have complete details of every transaction made by a taxpayer during the year.
The earlier deadline for filing of GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C for 2017-18 was November 30, 2019, while that for 2018-19 was December 31, 2019.
The annual return was initially conceived, included an annual summary of the supplies made, tax paid on such supplies, input tax credit claimed, ineligible credits, demands and refunds, besides the HSN on outward and inward supplies.