GST Council fails to decide on easing of returns filing

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A Group of Ministers (GoM) will work on model for further simplification of returns.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that while tax officials from the Centre and the states wanted that the return should be simple, they also wanted that it should check evasion.

However, the council failed to arrive at a consensus on simplifying the process of filing tax returns for businesses.

"The system is a single monthly return, which is simple but not evasion prone".

The GST Council on Saturday has approved staggered rollout of the intra-state e-Way Bill from April 15.

Sending positive signals to the exporting community, the council made a decision to extend the available tax exemptions on imported goods for six months beyond March 31. "The existing system has been extended by three months", Jaitley told reporters after the meeting.

"Intra-state e-Way Bill will be rolled out in phased manner with four groups of states".

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Simplified sales return GSTR-3B was introduced in July, the month of GST rollout, to help businesses to file returns easily in the initial months of GST roll out. However, every state has to come on board for the intra-state implementation latest by June 1.

The pending items outside the ambit of GST such as alcohol and real estate are likely to be taken up only after state elections, one of the officials said.

Under the GST regime, an e-Way bill needs to be generated and carried for the movement of all goods valued at over Rs50,000.

The report quoted tax consultants as saying the different numbers in both forms is valid, as the the GSTR-3B takes up the time of payment of taxes, input tax credit accumulated over months is used, along with the current periods.

As per the decision, exporters presently availing various export promotion schemes can now continue to avail such exemptions on their imports up to October 1, by which time an e-Wallet scheme is expected to be in place to continue the benefits in future.

Also, domestic procurement made under Advance Authorisation, EPCG and EOU schemes are being recognised as "deemed exports" with flexibility for either the suppliers or the exporters being able to claim a refund of GST/IGST paid thereon. "Uncertainty regarding return filings, invoice matching etc is a cause for worry for industry as this creates a problem on how to prepare for compliances", Saloni Roy, Senior Director, Deloitte India said.

To ease exporters' GST refund woes, revenue authorities will set up camps across the country for a fortnight beginning March 15, CBEC Chairperson Vanaja Sarna said on Saturday.

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