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Monthly returns to be mandatory under GST
September, 28th 2016

Businesses have to file at least three monthly returns and one annual return for each state, if draft rules proposed by the indirect tax department are introduced under the goods and services tax (GST) regime.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) on Tuesday came out with one more set of draft rules and their formats on GST returns and refunds, after it released one set on Monday. The indirect tax regime is expected to be rolled out from April 1, 2017.

Monthly returns are for output supply, input supply and summary accounts and would cover state GST, integrated GST (IGST) and central GST (CGST).

Currently, businesses have to file valued added tax returns but these are quarterly. Service tax returns must be filed but only twice in a year and not state-wise, explained Pratik Jain, leader-indirect tax, PwC India.

The GST returns has to contain details of profit, according to the profit and loss account, incorporating gross profit, net profit, etc, Jain said.

On why the profit and loss account was needed as it was not corporate income tax, Jain said the purpose was not clear from the rules issued by the CBEC. However, it seemed that the government wanted to reconcile the information given on these returns with the income-tax returns, he said.

Comments on the rules have been sought by Wednesday.

Also, the accounts have to be audited for those having an annual turnover of more than Rs 1 crore. "This will require a major overhaul of the accounting systems for large companies," Jain said.

"Overall, the rules on return, in particular, look quite comprehensive and it is clear that businesses would need to have a strong technology support for GST compliance. The key, of course, will lie in effective implementation of the rules by the government," he said.

On refunds, in case of supplies to special economic zones (SEZs), the recipient of goods and services has to file an application for refund, which makes it clear that upfront GST has to be incurred in such cases, unlike now where there is upfront exemption in most cases. This will lead to cashflow issues for SEZs and impact the information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services sector.

However, there is a stipulation of provisional refund within seven days of receipt of refund application. Such provisional refund, though, is only contemplated if the compliance rating of the supplier is at least five (out of a score of 10), a concept which is alien to taxpayers now.

As to how the score would be calculated, Jain said it was not clear from the draft rules.

The two set of draft rules will be finalised at the second meeting of the GST Council on September 30.

The draft rules, according to Rajat Mohan, director-indirect taxation, Nangia & Co, "have prescribed the form and manner of submission of quarterly returns by composition supplier, returns by non-resident taxable person, input service distributor, persons required to deduct tax at source and the form and manner of submitting statement of supplies effected through e-commerce."

Sandeep Chilana, partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, said the government in its frequently asked questions had clarified that only interstate branch transfers would attract GST and that intrastate branch transfer would not have such tax incidence.

However, the draft registration rules issued by the CBEC on Monday said in case a company seeks separate registration for its business verticals in a state, intrastate branch transfer between such registered business verticals would also attract GST.

 
 
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