Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal, FCA, FCS
The GST regime is plagued with extension of due dates since its inception. There is not even a single return whose due date has not been extended, atleast once or even more- be it any return. The latest comes for extension of due date for filing GSTR-3B for the month of September, 2018 which has been extended by five days from 20th October, 2018 to 25th October, 2018.
The last date for availing input tax credit for the period July, 2017 to March, 2018 and to file GSTR-1 is 31st October, 2018. This is already an extended date. Presently, Government does not want to take any risk to cause hardship to businessmen and tax payers, more so in the wake of forthcoming elections in few states and general elections in May, 2019. September is crucial for taxpayers under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, as it will be the final month for taxpayers to claim credit for invoices issued in 2017-18 as well as to rectify errors in their tax return forms for the year.
In yet another move, GST Council has asked states to have in place appellate mechanism for advance rulings so that assessees can file appeal against the Advance Rulings. Among others, the states are Punjab, MP, Delhi etc. In all, there are six such states who have not yet set up appellate authorities.
We have now about a dozen of orders issued by National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA), with last few confirming the anti-profiteering charges and proposing penal action. As the law stands today, there is no specific appeal measure provided in GST laws against NAA orders, which is certainly an anomaly. The assessees may have to file writs in court of law.
It is also being reported that many taxpayers in specified states (hilly ones) are findings it difficult to get GST refunds. While they are getting only 29 percent of the integrated GST (IGST) on inter-state movements of goods as refunds, unlike 100 percent of the excise tax in the pre-GST regime in hilly areas, the issue has become more contentious in Jammu and Kashmir because the units there were exempt from the service tax on inputs too. Also, procedural issues are not letting them get even 29 percent refunds in J & K and other hilly states, say those who have units there.
The GST Council is in the process of bringing out new tax return forms, which are expected to be rolled out effective 1 January 2019. These forms will give the tax authorities powers to detect tax evasion by cross-verification of claims made by suppliers and buyers through invoice matching.