CBIC vide press release dated 14 March 2020 stated that No Late fees for delayed filing of the Annual Return for the financial year 2017-18 and 2018-19 for taxpayers with aggregate turnover less than Rs. 2 crores.
Before this, filing of GSTR 9 was made optional for those with a turnover of less than Rs 2 crores for the first 2 years of GST i.e. FY 2017-18, FY 2018-19 vide Notification No. 47/2019 Central Tax, dated 9 October 2019.
In this article, an attempt has been made to understand the impact of the said notification and relevance of the press release dated. 14 March 2020.
The GST Council, in its 37th meeting, announced relaxation in the filing of annual returns for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises [whose aggregate turnover in a Financial Year (‘FY’) does not exceed INR 2 crores] for FYs 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.
An option has been provided to the taxpayer for filing of Form GSTR 9 ( turnover up to INR 2 crores) and waiver in respect of filing of Form GSTR 9A (for Composition taxpayers) vide Notification No. 47/2019. The Notification made it optional to file annual returns for FYs 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. However, it also stated that if the return is not furnished before the due date, it shall be deemed to be furnished on the due date.
This created a lot of confusion and to provide clarification about the optional filing of annual returns in GSTR 9 / 9A, the CBIC issued a Circular No. 124/43/2019, dated 18 November 2019. The Circular provides clarifications which are as under:
It is clarified that taxpayers, may, at their option file GSTR 9 for the relevant financial year before the due date.
After the due date, the GST portal shall not permit the furnishing of GSTR 9 for the relevant financial year. Similar clarification is also provided for the taxpayers under the Composition scheme.
GST Portal Baba overpowered all these notifications/circulars & clarifications and the taxpayers whose aggregate turnover in 2018-19 exceeds Rs 2 Crore were not allowed to file GSTR 9. The reason indicated was non- filing of their GSTR 9 of 2017-18 ( even though aggregate turnover in 2017-18 was less than Rs 2 Crores and they were not required to file 2017-18 GSTR 9 ). Such taxpayers have no option but to file 2017-18 GSTR 9 with late fees.
Now CBIC vide press release dated 14 March 2020 stated that No Late fees for delayed filing of the Annual Return for the financial year 2017-18 and 2018-19 for taxpayers with aggregate turnover less than Rs. 2 crores.
For Example, the Aggregate turnover of Mr. X in 2017-18 was Rs 1.9 crores and Rs 2.5 crores in 2018-19. He can now file his GSTR 9 for 2017-18 without any late fee and proceed for filing annual returns for 2018-19
Now the question arises, what will happen to those who had paid late fees? Whether they will get a refund for such a late fee. The detailed notification is awaited as nothing in this regard has been mentioned in press release.
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