Govt waives off late fee on GST returns

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 new scheme prescribes waiving off the late fee payable for delayed furnishing of FORM GSTR-1 for the period from July 2017 to September 2018, till October 31. The scheme has come at a time when there is huge difference between the number of people who have filed GSTR 3B and GSTR 1. Approximately 8.5 crore GSTR 3B have been filed since July 2017 while the number of GSTR 1 has been about 4.7 crore. GSTR 1 and GSTR 3B are different kinds of return forms to be filed by tax assessees.

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.

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

 

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