Companies allowed late filing of returns in first two months of GST: Jaitley

Companies can file simplified, aggregate returns in July and August, with a deadline of the 20th of the following month, the revenue secretary of the finance ministry informed.

business Updated: Jun 18, 2017 18:27 IST
New Delhi
GST,Arun Jaitley,GST July 1
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will replace a patchwork of central and state levies on goods and services and is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's biggest reforms since taking power in May 2014. (AFP File Photo)

India’s new national Goods and Services Tax (GST) will launch as planned on July 1, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday, but companies will be allowed to file late returns for the first two months to allow them to adapt to a new online filing system.

The GST, the biggest tax reform in India’s 70-year history, will require firms to file three online returns each month. Some business lobby groups have urged a delay to the roll out to allow more time to get ready.

Jaitley, speaking after a meeting of a GST coordination panel, said there would be “a slight relaxation of time” covering July and August before the strict GST filing timetable becomes applicable from September.

Companies would be able to file simplified, aggregate returns in July and August, with a deadline of the 20th of the following month, said Hasmukh Adhia, the revenue secretary steering the launch of the tax.

Once fully up and running, the GST will require companies to file a complete return of their sales invoices by the 10th of the following month, with a second of their purchase invoices by the 15th. A third return would calculate their tax bill.

“Relaxation for filing transaction-wise returns in July, August ... will provide relief to the industry,” said Harishanker Subramaniam, head of indirect tax at EY India.

The GST marks a technological leap forward – it will be driven by an IT back-end that can process up to 5 billion invoices a month. It also poses a huge challenge for larger companies to remodel their business process, while many small-time traders lack the technological know-how to cope.

More than 6.5 million businesses have already signed up for the GST, Jaitley said, more than four-fifths of those already registered to pay India’s old business taxes.

At Sunday’s meeting, officials also agreed on several sets of GST rules, including anti-profiteering guidelines intended to prevent traders exploiting the reform to ramp up prices.

The GST Council will meet again on June 30, the eve of the launch, Jaitley said.

First Published: Jun 18, 2017 18:13 IST