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Extend GST annual return deadline
June, 17th 2019

Tax practitioners from Gujarat have written to central and state governments that it is not possible to file GSTR-9, the annual return of GST within the set deadline of June 30 and so the deadline for filing the return should be extended. There are close to 6.7 lakh registered traders in Gujarat, of which only a handful of them have filed returns and the rest are not able to file returns because the auto-computation leads to erroneous entries, leading to over taxation of the dealers. While the form has a provision to increase the tax liability, there is no provision for rectification if a businessmen want to avail tax refund, which he failed to earlier.

In a letter to union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and as well as to authorities of Central GST (CGST) and State GST (SGST), Gujarat Sales Tax Bar Association said that the utility for filing of the return was available just about a month ago and it is not possible for the businessmen or the tax practitioners to get used to it. GSTBA president Urvish Patel told DNA that the annual returns get feeds from previous returns filed by the buyer and the seller. If there is mismatch, there will be error in filing of returns. "Businesses are concerned. They will end up paying much more tax than what they are required to. There is no provision to rectify or revise the return filed. There is an unfair provision that a businessmen are not able to claim the Input Tax Credit (ITC), which they did not claim on earlier occasion, but there is a provision of paying tax if the credit has been falsely claimed earlier," said Patel.

Tax practitioners said that because of these troubles, only a small fraction of the businesses have filed their annual return. There are close to 6.7 lakh dealers in the state who have been registered under GST, but only about 2-3 per cent of them have filed their returns, whose deadline ends on Jun 30. A senior official in SGST department also confessed that very few annual returns have been filed so far. Considering similar situation in the past since the roll out of GST, he does not rule out extension of deadline for filing returns.

Former president of GSTBA, Varis Isani said that under the present format there are high chances of making error while filing the return. "Contrary to claims of the government that the returns are simple, they are in fact very complicated. Moreover, there are no provisions for rectification or revision," he said. Unless proper reconciliation is effected, it could be a matter for extended litigation later-on to the un-reconciled returns and/or qualified Audit Reports by auditors if proceeded as it were, said the letter.

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