The seamless flow of input tax credit (ITC) across the chain (from the origin of the goods/services till its consumer) is the backbone of GST. This is required to be monitored by way of the matching concept whereby fictitious/duplicate claims can be identified and reversed. Thus, ITC claimed by the person would be matched with the details specified by the supplier in his return and in case of any discrepancy the same would be communicated to the supplier and the recipient. Further in case of wrong claims, ITC needs to be reversed along with interest.
In Pre GST Regime,under the Service Tax Law, there was a clear provision regarding the rate of interest i.e. service tax collected but not paid @ 24 % p.a. and in any other case it will be 18% p.a.. Under GST also there are only 2 rates of interest i.e. 18% and 24%. Though, the higher rate of interest is applicable only in case of contravention of a certain provision of section 42 & 43 of the Act. In this article an attempt has been made to explain matching concept of ITC and the rate of interest applicable in different scenario for excess claim of ITC.
In terms of section 50(1) of the Act, where a person is liable to pay tax fails to pay the tax or any part within the period prescribed, interest payable at the rate of 18%.
When recipient has made an excess or undue claim of ITC as per section 42(10) of the Act, rate of interest applicable will be 24%.
The return in Form GSTR 2A is generated by the system on the basis of information received from GSTR 1 indicating outward supplies. When the supplier of the assessee files GSTR 1 in any particular month, its details are captured by GSTR 2A thus providing the details of purchases of the assessee concerned.
ITC claimed in GSTR 3B should ideally match with ITC available on all the purchases made by the recipient. A mismatch between GSTR 2A and GSTR 3B may arise due to following reasons :
(a) The supplier has not uploaded invoices for which the recipient have already claimed input tax credit by submitting the tax summary in his GSTR 3B return.
(b) ITC claimed by the recipient pertains to imported goods and /or services.
(c ) ITC claimed by the recipient is for tax paid under Reverse Charge Mechanism.
(d) Duplication of claim of ITC by the recipient.
The recipient need to reconcile GST returns data and ensure that ITC claimed is correct and permissible under the Act.
CBIC vide notification No 75/2019 dated 26.12.2019 inserted Rule 86A which has given drastic powers to the Department to restrict the credit of any person in certain cases where there is reason to believe that ITC is availed fraudulently or is ineligible.
In addition, as per sec 42 of CGST Act 2017, Any discrepancy arises either due to excess credit claimed by recipient or if the corresponding supplier fails to provide details of such supply in his return will be communicated to both supplier and recipient and If the discrepancy is not rectified, the ITC needs to be reversed b the recipient along with interest @ 18% as per section 50(1).
If the supplier declares details of such supply in his return filed within the prescribed time limit, the recipient can reduce the amount so added in his output tax liability and the interest paid also shall be refunded.
Further, According to provision of sec 42 (10) of CGST Act,in case, the unmatched credit is availed back by the recipient, before the supplier has shown such supply in his valid return within the prescribed time limit, he shall be liable to pay interest @24% on such amount of unmatched credit. The chargeability of rate of interest has been provided in sec 50(3) of the CGST Act..
It can thus be seen that the interest of 24% will be applicable only in a case where :-
The discrepancy is communicated after matching the returns of supplier and recipient,
Such credit is added back to the output tax liability of such recipient
The recipient has again taken back such credit before the supplier declares it in his valid return within the prescribed time limit as mentioned above.
The interest applicability on mismatched ITC can be well understood with the help of following cases :-
X Ltd, a manufacturing company has taken credit relating to food and beverages which is ineligible as per section 17(5) of the Act, However, such credit is matched with the supplier return. Now, X ltd wants to reverse credit along with interest. What is the rate of interest applicable to X Ltd?
Answer: In this case, X Ltd has claimed ineligible ITC which is not covered by section 42(10) or 43(10) of the Act. The rate of interest applicable shall be 18% as specified in section 50(1) of the Act.
A company claimed ITC relating to an invoice on which consideration was unpaid for more than 180 days. Now, the company wants to reverse ITC along with interest. What is the rate of interest applicable?
Answer: Similar to Case-1, here also there is no mismatch and section 42 / 43 shall not be applicable. Therefore, the rate of interest specified in section 50(1) of the Act i.e.18% shall be applicable.
A person named Rahul, claimed ITC of Rs. 2,500 in his return and the corresponding supplier disclosed GST liability in this regard of only Rs. 2,000 in his return. Here arose a discrepancy and the same is known to Rahul on verification of Form GSTR-2A. Rahul wants to reverse the excess claimed along with interest. What is the interest rate applicable?
Answer: In this case, there is mis-match between details furnished by recipient and supplier. Hence, interest applicable as per Section 50(1) shall be applicable i.e. 18%.
ABC Ltd. ordered goods which are received on installment basis. ABC Ltd claimed ITC at the time of receipt of first lot. ABC Ltd has to reverse such credit along with interest. What is the rate of interest applicable?
Answer: In this scenario, ABC Ltd can claim ITC on receipt of last lot as provided in section 16 of the Act. Thus, ABC Ltd has made an early availment of ITC. Therefore, interest needs to be paid at the rate of 18% as per section 50(1) of the Act.
Hira Ltd. has claimed a credit of Rs. 2,000 in the month of Aug`17 but the corresponding supplier has not provided any details of such supply in his Form GSTR-1. Now, on comparison of Form GSTR 3B and Form GSTR 2A the officer found a discrepancy and the same is communicated, to both Hira Ltd. and the supplier in the month of Oct`17. Supplier failed to rectify such discrepancy and Hira Ltd. has to reverse such credit in Oct ‘17. What is the rate of interest applicable at the time of reversal?
Further, Hira Ltd re claimed the ITC in the month of Dec`17 under the belief that the supplier has declared in his return, in such case what is the rate of interest applicable at second time reversal?
Answer: As per section 50(1), first reversal in Oct 17 is treated as delay in tax payment to government and rate of interest applicable is 18% which would be paid by Hira Ltd. Subsequently when Hira Ltd. takes back the credit in Dec ’17, it will have to pay interest @ 24% from Dec ’17 till the date of reversal of such credit/inclusion of such supply in the suppliers’ valid return.
However, If the supplier declare such supply in his return of subsequent month, ie Jan 18, then Hira Ltd. can reduce the amount added earlier and the interest paid shall also be refunded.
From the above examples, it can be noted that the interest rate of 24% would not be applicable in all cases and would be restricted only to those cases where the unmatched credit is again availed back by the recipient, before the supplier has shown such supply in his valid return within the prescribed time limit.
At present, it is not clear what does communication of discrepancy mean? Whether it would mean that Form GSTR-2A appearing in the assessee’s return dashboard is a communication, or a notice issued by department.
Refer to below flowchart to better understand the above.
(Republished with Amendments. Amendments been made by CA Anita Bhadra)