The industry may have to wait longer for a single-page return filing system under Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the group of ministers (GoM) headed by Bihar Finance Minister Sushil Modi is yet to finalise the shape of the new structure that aims to reduce compliance burden and ease procedures for businesses.
The ministerial panel has decided to come up with a 'fusion’ model, based on the two alternate models towards making the return filing process simpler. The new simplified model may suggest giving credit on a provisional basis, once suppliers upload their sales invoices, upon fulfilling certain conditions.
After meeting 15 tax experts and 40 industry representatives, Modi said on Tuesday that there was detailed discussion on simplification of return filing and a final draft regarding the same will be submitted to the GST Council for its approval.
He stated that businesses shall continue to file the summary form GSTR-3B and enough time will be given for transition to the new system.
“Till the simplified return filing process is finalised, GSTR-3B will continue," Modi said.
In the last meeting in March, the GST Council discussed two alternate models for simplification of filing returns. However, there was no definitive view regarding the same and the group of ministers (GoM) headed by Modi was asked to look at further simplification.
In today’s meeting, Modi said that discussions were around two major issues: Whether credit should be given on a provisional basis, and whether credit should be limited to tax payment or not.
As per one model, officials believe that provisional credit should not be given unless taxpayers file returns and pays taxes. However, provisional credit could be granted to a taxpayer, but returns have to be filed within 3-4 months, along with payment of taxes or else the credit amount would be reversed, according to the second model.
According to a tax expert, the process of finalising the new return filing structure may take some time as certain changes will have to be incorporated in the law.
“It seems the new GST returns may only be introduced either in the last quarter or the next year. Till then, it's likely that the current summary return on a monthly basis will continue,” Pratik Jain, Leader, Indirect Tax at PwC said.
Currently, tax assessees need to file two sets of forms - GSTR3B (summary form) and GSTR1 (outward supply or goods sold).
GSTR3B is a summary form, which a business is supposed to file before the 20th of the following month. However, a taxpayer does not have to provide invoice level information in the form.
The erstwhile plan of filing 36 returns via three key return forms - GSTR1 (outward supply), GSTR2 (inward supply) and GSTR3 (the final netted out return) - and one annual return, has been temporarily suspended.