Drill for GST annual returns
The format for annual returns and audit is likely to be approved by the GST Council at its meeting on July 21 and industry expects there could be some reconciliation with the annual IT returns as the government aims to check tax evasion. Further, the Sushil Modi led ministerial panel will recommend to the GST Council to defer by a year the proposal to incentivize digital payments, citing revenue implications of doling out concessional tax rate.
The panel, in its meeting on Sunday, has decided to wait for stabilization of revenues under the GST and the new return filing systems in the current fiscal before considering differential GST rates for people making payments using the digital mode. The goods and services tax (GST) was rolled out on July 1, 2017, and this was the first year when businesses would have to file annual returns (GSTR-9) for the 2017-18 fiscal by December 31, 2018. Also those businesses with turnover of more than Rs 2 crore will have to file audit reports along with the annual returns.
The revenue officers have prepared a draft of the annual returns form, which will be deliberated by the GST council, chaired by the Union finance minister and comprising state finance ministers as members, in its meeting on July 21
The GST Network, which manages the IT backbone for the new indirect tax regime will thereafter finalise the software to enable businesses to file the returns. Tax experts said they expect the annual returns form to be in line with the erstwhile value-added tax (VAT) regime, with some columns for reconciliation with income tax returns and audit report. They expect the forms to be made available online by October so that the returns could be filed within the December due date.
Deloitte India partner M. S. Mani said: “Considering the fact that the key objective of the GST is to expand the tax base, it is expected that the annual return would require some information related to annual accounts and income tax returns, in addition to the details which were required to be submitted in the erstwhile VAT annual returns.”
They expect that in the VAT era, assessments were made on the basis of annual returns and the same process should be followed in the GST regime as well.