AMID CONFUSION over dates and norms for filing returns for Goods and Service Tax (GST), fewer taxpayers in the state have filed their returns in October compared to July. According to data received from the GST department, the percentage of taxpayers filing the mandatory GSTR-3B has dropped from 87.25 in July to 62.44 in October.
A month into the new composite tax regime — GST was introduced in June — 87.25 per cent of the eligible 9.15 lakh taxpayers in the state had filed the GSTR-3B for July. But even as the number of registered taxpayers eligible for filing returns grew over the next three months, the returns compliance dipped. In August, of the 10.21 lakh eligible taxpayers, 77.98 per cent filed their returns. It dipped to 71.02 per cent in September and further dropped to 62.44 in October.
Sources in the GST department said the drop was a consequence of the confusion over return dates and deadline extensions. “In October, following the 22nd GST Council meeting, smaller businesses, with a turnover below Rs 1.5 crore, were allowed to file returns quarterly, instead of monthly. But that was for the bigger returns of GSTR1 and 2. However, those with smaller businesses did not file their GSTR 3B,” said a senior official from the department.
After the 23rd GST Council Meeting in November it was clarified that GSTR-3B was to be filed monthly, at least until December. “Compliance has seen a dip, essentially because smaller traders have not filed their returns in October. This has happened across the country,” said the official adding that there has not been any major impact on revenue collection. “Only small traders have not filed returns and the revenue component from small traders is not a large amount,” he said.
To improve the compliance, the state GST department has identified those traders who have not complied with monthly returns. “Emails have been sent to such traders. Now, we have identified some traders with whom we will get in touch with to understand where the problem is. If required, our regional officers will visit the traders,” said the official. “The department will not pressure the traders to file returns. There is confusion at all quarters at this point and we understand that.”