GST Council agrees on simpler return filing process

GST Cess

The all-powerful GST Council has also okayed a plan to change the GST Network into a government-owned entity. The Council has set a period of six months for the transition to take place.

New Delhi: The GST Council today chose to refer to a five-member committee of state finance ministers the proposal of levying cess on sugar as the Centre seeks to raise additional resources for providing production subsidy worth Rs 1,540 crore to cane farmers. Currently, sugar attracts five per cent GST.

Two groups of ministers (GoMs) will deliberate further on these matters and submit their reports in a fortnight. Finally, a ministerial panel headed by deputy CM Sushil Modi opted for a "fusion model" that was cleared by the council on Friday.

Among the other important matters discussed at the GST meet included the issue of giving 2 percent incentive for digital payments which was referred to a 5-member committee and a new system of single monthly return for GST that comes into force in six months. In stage one GSTR1 and GSTR3B continuing for six months.

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"The staggered introduction of the new returns would enable businesses to prepare for the same and make changes to their systems; businesses are relieved that they would no longer be penalised for their vendors omissions". The system will calculate tax liability and input tax credit for the buyers.

However, there shall be no automatic reversal of input tax credit from buyer on non-payment of tax by the seller, an official statement said. Once the buyer has accepted the invoice seller can not edit or delete the invoices. Those having no transactions and those under the composition scheme will be filing quarterly returns. The input tax credit though would be available only on payment of tax.

In the transitional phase, there will be a separate column for the provisional credit that could be granted to the tax payer, but the returns have to be filled within 3-4 months and taxes have to be paid or else the credit will cease to exist. Adhia said during the second phase, dealers will be constantly fed with information about gap between credit available to them as per invoices uploaded by their sellers and the provisional credit being claimed by them. This framework may also adversely impact the buyer's cash flows on account of delayed credit if the seller fails to upload invoices on time, he added. The council has recommended for setting up of a Group of Ministers from State Governments to look into the proposal and make recommendations, within two weeks, keeping in mind the views expressed in GST Council in this regard.

"This is first (such) suggestion has come up. How are such contingencies to be addressed in the GST regime - by imposition of cess or temporarily by increasing the tax or by some alternative method of revenue raising?" The proposal was opposed by most states. The proposal to impose fresh cess on sugar is aimed at benefitting the cane farmers who are reeling under debt burden.

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