July 1 rollout firm, deadline eased to file GST returns

Council approves anti-profiteering rules; tax rates for lotteries and hotels reworked

Published: 19th June 2017 01:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2017 01:55 PM   |  A+A-

GST

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The new universal taxation regime would be launched officially at the stroke of midnight on June 30, the Goods and Services Tax Council said on Sunday, even as it relaxed the rules on filing returns for businesses for a period of two months.

“We don’t have the luxury of time to defer the implementation of GST,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the Council meeting on Sunday. “The GST Council has categorically decided that it would be implemented from July 1.”

Under the new regime, firms would have to file three online returns each month, based on invoices from business to customer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) supplies. However, as per the revised timeline for filing returns, a simple form -- GSTR-3B -- would have to be filed by August 20 for the month of July and September 20 for August.

“For the first two months, instead of insisting on exact invoice-to-invoice data, the assessee will file a simple form 3B,” said Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia.

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Also, sale invoices (GSTR-1) for the month of July would have to be filed by September 5 instead of August 10, and for the month of August by September 20 instead of September 10. The Council claimed the relaxation was given to avoid any grievances or lack of preparedness.
“This means those who are not ready would get 2-2.5 months to get prepared. If someone says they are still not ready, that is to their own detriment,” Jaitley warned. Some business lobby groups had reportedly asked for the rollout to be delayed in order to get prepared for the same.

The council fixed two GS T rates for lotteries—12 percent for government and 28 percent for authorised private draws. It  also offered a respite to the hospitality sector. A 28 percent GST rate will now apply for room tariffs of above Rs 7,500 a night from the earlier threshold of Rs 5,000. Restaurants in five-star hotels will also be taxed at a GST rate of 18 percent, down from 28 percent.

Council has also cleared six rules, including anti- profiteering. A five-member anti-profiteering authority would be set up to decide on levying penalty if businesses do not pass on the benefit of price reduction to consumers under the GST regime. The authority, to be headed by a retired secretary-level officer, can take suo motu action, and act on complaints of profiteering.

The authority would have a sunset date of two years. Where the consumer cannot be identified, the amount would be credited to the consumer welfare fund. “I hope we are not compelled to use it (anti-profiteering),” Jaitley said. “In international implementations of GST even with the presence of anti profiteering clauses, there was inflationary pressure. The government would like to avoid this. Competitive pressure amongst the industry should naturally lead to benefits going to customers,” says Archit Gupta of ClearTax.

key dates
July 1: Launch of GST confirmed
Aug 20: Filing date for GSTR-3B for month of July
Sept 20: Deadline for filing GSTR-3B for month of August
Sept 5: Deadline for filing GSTR-1 for month of July
Sept 20: Deadline for filing GSTR-1 for August
65.6 lakh: Businesses have reportedly registered with the GSTN

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