Govt to mandate single GST return a month

NEW DELHI: The government inched closer to putting in place a revamped return for goods and services tax () to ease the burden on businesses by mandating only one monthly filing, with the supplier submitting the form and an alert going to the buyer.
Although officers and chairman , who is advising the government on returns, have not been able to reconcile their differences on how the input tax credit will be given and whether it should be linked to actual tax payment, deputy CM , who heads a group of ministers, said the panel was looking at the new return being a blend between the two proposals.

The panel held detailed discussions with stakeholders on Tuesday and another seven days have been given for the feedback before the final draft will be sent to the GST Council, comprising union and state finance ministers, Modi said. After the meeting, Modi said apart from moving to 12 returns annually, instead of 36 currently, the idea was to move away from computer systembased matching of returns, which generates large mismatches between claims of suppliers and buyers.

“The supplier will upload the details and the recipient will do the matching,” Modi said, adding that the buyer will be able to see what has been uploaded. He also said that continuous upload of returns by the seller will be allowed and the idea is to ensure that returns are in line with the current business practices.

Although the detailed content of forms was yet to be finalised, Modi said adequate time will be given to GST Network, which provides the IT backbone, as well as businesses for transition. Till then the interim arrangement will continue.

“Returns are the soul of GST and credit is based on that,” Modi said. Returns have been a sore point with businesses, who have cited this as a major burden although the government had earlier dismissed it as a bogey to avoid detailed scrutiny. But under pressure before elections in , the government softened its position and scrapped the system and decided to move to a new format.

While e-way bills and reserve charge mechanism were also put on the backburner, the anti-evasion tools are once again in focus. Modi said the panel will deliberate on the details for rolling out the reverse charge mechanism in the first week of May, with the time table and the coverage to be decided.

Reverse charge is to be paid by registered GST payers on behalf of small suppliers, who are exempted from registration. The registered dealer or the buyer, who has to pay GST under reverse charge, has to undertake self-invoicing for the purchases.

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