Businesses are likely to get extra time for filing their Goods and Services Tax (GST) annual return and audit report for FY19, the first full year of the indirect tax reform.
Federal indirect tax body, the GST Council, is likely to extend the due date from 31, December to enable businesses to comply as companies are currently busy with meeting the deadline for FY18, the first year of GST roll out, said a person privy to discussions in the Council.
Businesses have time till 30 November to file the annual return and audit report for the July-April period of FY18, for which they were given three extensions already considering the numerous changes in rules and the difficulties faced by them in shifting to a new technology reliant indirect tax regime.
Industry experts said that an extension will be of immense help as without it, they will have to finalise annual returns and the audit report for FY19 within one month of having filed the same for the previous fiscal.
However, the extension of the due date for FY19 may be announced only closer to the date, not at the forthcoming meeting of the GST Council on 20 September, said the person quoted above, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The government does not want to pre-empt the preparations that businesses are currently doing to meet the due date.
GST implementation has been marked by continued extensions of due dates for filing various return forms as the new technology driven indirect tax regime brought into its fold a large number of small firms. The Council has progressively liberalised the compliance regime, especially for the small businesses, which now have to pay only quarterly returns though they pay taxes on a monthly basis. The central government expects the new tax regime may take some more time to stabilise. “The full benefits of GST reforms should start accruing from FY21 and completely stabilise thereafter to ensure sustainable fiscal path,” the finance ministry had noted in the FY20 union budget documents.
According to Archit Gupta, founder and chief executive officer of ClearTax, a technology firm offering services to tax payers, the focus of the authorities at present should be on improving compliance for FY 18. Once that is out of the way, they could focus on the next financial year. “This way, learnings from the first year can be used to improve compliance for the years to follow. Simplification of GSTR-9 (annual return) is critical at this point, we hope in the next council meeting this is considered and changes are made,” said Gupta.