Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

GST Council agrees on simpler return filing process

GST Council agrees on simpler return filing process GST Council agrees on simpler return filing process
Russell Knight | 04 May, 2018, 15:46

In the 27th meeting on Friday, the GST Council approved the proposal to make Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) a government body.

Addressing the media, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, Centre, State to hold 50 per cent each in the GST structure.

"The GST Council discussed the change in ownership structure of GSTN".

The GST Council on Friday chose to roll out in six months a new method of filing monthly returns and to take over ownership of the GST Network (GSTN), even as it deferred a decision on imposing a sugar cess and allowing an incentive for digital payments. However, composition dealers and those filing nil returns will be allowed to file quarterly returns. Keeping in view the record production of sugar in the current sugar season, and consequent depressed sugar prices and build-up of sugarcane arrears, the Council discussed the issue of imposition of sugar cess and reduction in GST rate on ethanol in great detail.

Sandeep Chilana, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, says, "The GST Council's decision to simplify the GST return form by making it a single page return is likely to bring buoyancy to tax collections on account of improved compliance". Currently, 49 percent is held by the government while the remaining 51 percent is with the private financial institution, comprising HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd.

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Now, "inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to run near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term". Although there are economists predicting a total of four rate hikes this year, in terms of consensus they are in the minority.

While some of the ideas are welcome, an inability, from a buyers' standpoint, to upload missing invoices or take provisional credit, could lead to losses for businesses where the suppliers are not traceable and tax has been paid to them.

As Jaitley has been advised by doctors to stay in isolation to avoid contracting infection, the meeting would be conducted through video conferencing, sources said.

The Council has chose to constitute a Group of Ministers to consider cess.

The government on Wednesday announced it would pay Rs 1,540 crore to cane farmers directly on behalf of the mills by way of a production subsidy of Rs 5.5 per quintal of cane.

Since its implementation on 1 July 2017, the GST Council has made around 376 changes by amending rules, issuing clarifications and circulars related to refund, exemption and rates, according to experts.

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