As we read this piece, India is going through its tough times wherein in people of the country as fighting for the survival due to COVID 2.0. People from most part of the country are struggling to get “Oxygen” for breathing which is necessity to live on this planet. Naturally, the business and statutory compliances take back seat in such times when taxpayers and professionals are struggling for their lives. To contain the spread of the virus, many states including industrials states like Maharashtra, Karnataka etc have announced lockdowns and others are in pipeline. Though during these lockdowns, the industry is running but as there are restriction in movements the economic cycle gets impacted.

Considering the grim situation, the taxpayers as well as professionals were demanding “ease of compliances”. Better late than never, the GST council has chaired by the Central Government took decision to ease of certain compliances in GST. Let us understand the relaxation given by the GST council one by one.

> Waiver of Interest / Lower interest

The delayed payment of the tax attracts interest @ 18% on the tax amount. The GST council has decided to waive the interest / charge lower interest rate for delayed payment of tax. The CBIC has issued notification 08/2021 (CT) dated 1st May 2021 giving below relaxations,

Regular Taxpayer having aggregate turnover up to 5 Cr in preceding financial year –

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Period from the due date Rate of Interest
First 15 days from the due date of tax payment Nil
Next 15 days Interest @ 9% instead of 18%
Thereafter 18%

Note: The above relaxation will be applicable for the returns for the month of March 2021 and April 2021.

Composition Taxpayer having aggregate turnover up to 5 Cr in preceding financial year –

__

Period from the due date Rate of Interest
First 15 days from the due date of tax payment Nil
Next 15 days Interest @ 9% instead of 18%
Thereafter 18%

Note: The above relaxation will be applicable for the quarter ending the month of March 2021.

Regular Taxpayer having aggregate turnover above than 5 Cr in preceding financial year –

___

Period from the due date Rate of Interest
First 15 days from the due date of tax payment Interest @ 9% instead of 18%
Thereafter 18%

Note: The above relaxation will be applicable for the returns for the month of March 2021 and April 2021.

It is important to note that the wording used in the notification is “aggregate turnover” and not turnover for the state. In other words, turnover under entire PAN for the previous year needs to be considered while checking the eligibility of the relaxation. Also, there are different due dates of payment of tax for each category of state, the due date needs to be considering as per the due date applicable for that state.

> Extension of Due date of filing of returns

The GST council has decided to extend the due dates of following returns

Return Nature of returns Original due Date Extended Date Notification Reference
GSTR-4 for the financial year 2020-21 GST Return that has to be filed by a composition dealer 30th April 2021. 31st day of May, 2021 Notification No. 10/2021 – Central Tax
ITC-04 for the quarter Jan-March 2021 Details of goods dispatched to a job worker or received from a job worker 25th April 2021 31st day of May, 2021 Notification No. 11/2021 – Central Tax
GSTR-1 for the month of April 2021 Details of outward supplies 11th May 2021 26th May 2021 Notification No. 12/2021 – Central Tax
Invoice Furnishing facility Invoices of outward supplies From 1st May 2021 to 13th May 2021 From the 1st May, 2021 till the 28th May, 2021 Notification No. 13/2021 – Central Tax

> Waiver of late fees

In addition to relaxation in interest rate and extension of due dates, the late fees for delayed filing of GSTR-3B returns are also waived in following instances,

Taxpayer Waiver period Return for period
Regular Taxpayer having aggregate turnover above than 5 Cr in preceding financial year No late fees for 15 days from the due date of filing GSTR-3B March 2021 and April 2021
Regular Taxpayer having aggregate turnover above than 5 Cr in preceding financial year filing monthly returns No late fees for 30 days from the due date of filing GSTR-3B March 2021 and April 2021
Regular Taxpayer having aggregate turnover above than 5 Cr in preceding financial year filing quarterly returns No late fees for 30 days from the due date of filing GSTR-3B Jan to March 2021

> Relaxation in compliances to Rule 36 (4) – Matching of input tax credit

The Rule 36 (4) of CGST Rules, 2017 has been amended to provide that 105% cap on availment of ITC in FORM GSTR-3B to be applicable on cumulative basis for period April and May 2021, to be applied in the return for tax period May 2021.

> Extension in statutory time limits

The time limit for completion of various actions, by any authority or by any person, under the GST Act, which falls during the period from 15th April 2021 to 30th May 2021, has been extended upto 31st May, 2021. The few of the actions for which the dates are extended are enumerated below,

a) completion of any proceeding or passing of any order or issuance of any notice, intimation, notification, sanction or approval or such other action, by whatever name called, by any authority, commission or tribunal, by whatever name called, under the provisions of the Acts stated above; or

b) filing of any appeal, reply or application or furnishing of any report, document, return, statement or such other record, by whatever name called, under the provisions of the Acts stated above;

c) The due date of issuing the orders of refund under section 54 (7) of the CGST Act, 2017 has been extended to fifteen days after the receipt of reply to the notice from the registered person or the 31st day of May, 2021, whichever is later.

As mentioned earlier, considering the COVID situation the GST council has decided to extend timelines, waived late fee and reduced the interest for certain period of time. One can still debate whether these extensions are sufficient and timely but nevertheless the taxpayer should consider these relaxations and focus on saving themselves from COVID 2.0.

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