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GST return simplification panel to meet industry this week
February, 12th 2018

The government appointed panel on GST returns under GSTN chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey will meet industry and traders this week to seek their views on simplification of return filing process.

The committee is likely to submit its report to the Group of Ministers, headed by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, which will finalise its recommendations by the month end and place it before the GST Council, Pandey said.

The government had set up the return simplification committee in November last year to ease the burden on businesses to file three returns in a month along with initial sales return GSTR-3B.

In an interview to PTI, Pandey said the committee after consulting stakeholders will try and bring in a process under which once the seller uploads the sales invoice on the GSTN portal, it would automatically show in their returns.

"We have called stakeholder meeting this week. We will seek views of industry and stakeholders. Thereafter, the GoM will consider and give its recommendation. The whole process is likely to be finalised in next two weeks," he added.

The GST Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state counterparts, will thereafter clear the new process of returns and GST Network (GSTN) will redo their software to get attuned with the new process.

"The concept is return filing process should be very very simplified so that return filing becomes a part of the business process. As much as possible, people need not collect information again and file returns. So, that is why the whole issue is from the invoice itself if most part of the returns can be generated. This will lead to a great amount of simplification," the chairman said.

Initially when the GST was launched on July 1, 2017, the businesses were mandated to file a simplified sales return 3B and also final sales returns (GSTR-1), purchase return (GSTR- 2) and finally two was required to be auto-populated to generate GSTR-3.

As businesses complained of hardship in filing GSTR-2 on the GSTN portal, the Council in November decided to keep filing of GSTR-2 and 3 in abeyance till March. All businesses now files GSTR-3B every month.

Businesses with turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore have to file GSTR-1 every quarter, while those with turnover over Rs 1.5 crore have to file the return on the 10th day of the succeeding month.

The committee is looking at reducing the requirement of filing three returns a month and to help honest tax payers with a simplified process.

"The system should be such that people who try to deceive the system and evade taxes, it should be easy for tax authorities to catch them," Pandey said.

If businesses file GSTR-1, 2, 3, and also initial sales return 3B every month, then the total number of returns in a year filed by a taxpayer works up to 49 returns after taking into account the annual return to be filed in fiscal end.

"We have to do it (simplify returns) as early as possible because the Council has decided with regard to filing of GSTR-1, 2, 3 only till March 31. So before that, a new system should come in place so that we can implement it at the earliest," Pandey noted.

He said GST Network, the company developing the IT backbone for GST, will ensure that businesses do not face any problem. "We will ensure that whatever solution we bring, it should for convenience of businesses and also GSTN system should be able to handle".

Pandey is the convener of the 10-member return simplification committee, while Manish Kumar Sinha Commissioner (Central Excise) CBEC, is the Member Secretary.

The other members of the committee include Udai Singh Kumawat (Joint Secretary Revenue Department), Upender Gupta (Commissioner) GST, Prakash Kumar GSTN CEO and P D Vaghela (CCT Gujarat).

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