GST: Most businesses will be allowed to file monthly returns
In a bid to smooth out the creases in the new GST regime, the government is now looking to allow most businesses to file quarterly returns as opposed to the earlier requirement of monthly filings. This new measure would ease the compliance burden on businesses, as well as allow the government to unclog the GST system which has been facing glitches due to overloading.
According to sources, the move is currently being deliberated in the finance ministry, but implementation might take some time. The delay is because of the bureaucratic process which requires the law committee to first clear the move before it goes to the GST Council, comprising Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and state finance ministers, for final approval.
Several traders have repeatedly complained about the three-stage GST compliance process which is not only increasing their compliance costs, but also resulting in a massive work load. The government, therefore, does not stand to lose much by easing the rules. In fact, it might help them secure the favor of traders who are currently burdened by the complicated filing process.
Several issues, however, have to be sorted out first. While large companies like Hindustan Unilever, Maruti Suzuki etc. will have to file returns monthly, their suppliers, if the move is implemented, would only file returns quarterly, thus resulting in a mismatch in the system. Sources said that this major issue would first have to be sorted out.
Sources also said that the government is considering several reforms. These include a Saral-type easier return mechanism for those with turnovers under Rs. 20 lakh. It is also trying to come up with a new mechanism for refund of taxes paid by exporters on inputs, which was duty-free. Other issues like advance authorization schemes, SEZs and export-oriented units are also on the agenda.