Govt waives off late fee on GST returns

Giving extra time for filing GST Return-1 to businesses will aid in taking strong anti-evasion measures in the future.

New Delhi: The government has launched a one-time scheme to waive late fee for delayed furnishing of filing the goods and services tax (GST) return-1 form for the period July 2017 to September 2018, to encourage taxpayers to furnish the returns.

The waiver, which will be effective till 31 October 2018, provides a lot of relief to businesses and traders, who have to file a summary of the transactions made every month in the GST return-3B form and a filed a detailed return of the sales in the GST return-1 form.

The GST return-1 form is a vital tool for the authorities in combating tax evasion as it gives details about the buyer. However, tax authorities have noticed that filings of the detailed sales return is lower than the summary return filings.

“Non-furnishing of GST return-1 is liable to late fee and penalty as per law. In order to encourage taxpayers to furnish GST return-1, a one-time scheme to waive off late fee payable for delayed furnishing of GST return-1 for the period from July 2017 to September 2018 till 31 October 2018 has been launched,” said the finance ministry.

Giving more time to businesses to file details of their sales makes sense as information contained in GST return-1 is of immense value to tax officials. It enables officials to find out who the buyer is, the quantum of purchase and whether the buyer has filed his return and paid taxes on subsequent transactions. Giving extra time for filing GST return-1 to businesses will help the authorities take strong anti-evasion measures in the future.

“GST return 1 is very intrinsic to the overall scheme of GST and an extension of the timelines would accelerate filings, “ said M.S.Mani, Partner, Deloitte India.

The ministry said that the due date for businesses with more than ₹1.5 crore, including those registered in Kerala, to file GST return 1 for the period July 2017 to September 2018, has been extended till 31 October 2018. This extension is also applicable to those entities with their principal place of business in Kodagu in Karnataka and Mahe in Puducherry.

Smaller tax payers, with annual sales less of than ₹1.5 crore, too, can also file GST return 1 without fine till the end of October. However, small tax payers in Kerala and those with their principal place of business in Kodagu and Mahe, the deadline will continue to be 15 November as announced last month.

The ministry also advised tax payers to file returns on time so that their tax credits do not lapse.