Central and state tax authorities will on Saturday seek views from businesses, traders and tax experts across the country on the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns that will be rolled out from 1, April. The new return forms are now available for voluntary filing, but will be made compulsory from the beginning of the next fiscal.
The nation-wide consultation is aimed at identifying areas where tax payers may have a difficulty in filing tax returns and fix those problems before the new forms are made compulsory. The consultation signifies the special care being taken to ensure that the next wave of changes in GST does not trigger a backlash as had happened when the tax reform was introduced in July 2017 that led to several deadline extensions for return filings.
The GST return filing system has already undergone several rounds of simplification, the latest being a simplified annual return and reconciliation form for the first two years of GST brought out recently. At a meeting that Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman held last month, industry representatives and accountants demonstrated to the changes they wanted in the system.
An official statement from the finance ministry said the idea of consultation on Saturday was to get “an on-the-spot response to the new GST returns to be introduced from April." The focus is on assessing the ease of compliance and uploading of new returns so that the trade does not face any difficulty when the returns are made mandatory. Tax officers will be available during the consultation to hand hold taxpayers in trying out the new returns.
“This is the first time after introduction of GST that taxpayer consultation is being done on such a large scale," said the finance ministry statement.