In the wake of the continuous disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of various requests received from the businessmen and entities registered under the GST regime. The government has extended by a month the deadlines for furnishing annual returns for 2018-19 under the goods and services tax (GST) regime through the way of the circular.

It stated “After the receipt of clearances from the Election Commission of India as per the Model Code of Conduct, the CBIC has granted a postponement of due date for submitting Annual Return in GSTR-9 and GSTR 9C for 2018-19 from September 30 to October 31st, 2020.

Earlier, The Tax Bar Association, Guwahati had requested the Hon’ble Union Finance Minister to extend the due date for filing GST Annual Return Form GSTR 9, 9A, and 9C for the year 2018-19. The request also included an appreciation of the actions being taken by the Government to provide relief to the taxpayers, however, they had also maintained that the situation was indeed not better. The Tax Bar Association had requested the authorities to provide suitable clarifications in respect of the points listed in the letter so filings could be submitted without any error.

The request included the following-  

a. The first request included the extension in the dates for filing  GST annual return and audit report for 2018-19;

b. Further the problems faced by the taxpayers for taxpayers in finalizing the Annual Returns and Audit Report for the Year 2018-19 and the Associations for such returns.

What is GST Annual Return under the GST Act 2017?

GSTR-9 is an annual return to be submitted annually by taxpayers registered under GST. It contains details concerning the number of outward and inward supplies made during the relevant previous year under different heads of GST i.e. CGST, SGST & IGST, and HSN codes.

Principally, it is a form comprising of consolidated details of all the monthly/quarterly returns (GSTR-1, GSTR-2A, and GSTR-3B) filed in that year. This complex form helps in wide-ranging reconciliation of data for 100% transparent disclosures

For the persons failing to submission of GST annual return, the applicable levy fees Rs 100 per day under each Act for which a GST is filed.

Therefore, in cases of Intrastate Tax, the total liability for one day of default would be equal to Rs.200 and further Rs.200 per day subject to an utmost limit of 0.25% of the taxpayer’s turnover in the relevant state or UT. However, no penalty has been notified for the annual return prescribed under the Inter-state Tax.

Who should file GSTR-9, the annual return?

All taxpayers/taxable persons registered under GST must file their GSTR 9. However, the following are NOT required to file GSTR 9:

i. Taxpayers opting composition scheme (They must file GSTR-9A)

ii.  Casual Taxable Person

iii. Input service distributors

iv. Non-resident taxable persons

v.  Persons paying TDS under section 51 of the CGST Act.

vi.  GSTR-9 filing for businesses with turnover up to Rs 2 crore made optional for FY 17-18 and FY 18-19*.

Conclusion:

Thus, through this provision Businesses and professionals will have the benefit make submissions in the extended timelines and file the annual returns by 31 October. This extension will give the necessary advantage to tax professionals and businesses both. The provision has come at a time when most of the companies are struggling to apply E-invoicing methods effective from Oct 1. Extension of GST annual compliances will allow some space as well as relaxation in absence of which the assesses would not have been able to submit returns under the earlier prescribed period of 30.09.2020.

With the GST annual compliance date coinciding with the implementation of e-invoicing, the industry had given up hope on meeting both the statutory deadlines. Though announced at the last moment, still the deferment is likely to bring some relaxation for the people concerned.

Previously, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) had also requested the GST Council through a written plea with an intent to defer the 2018-19 GST annual return filing timeline for the year 2020 till December 31, which was earlier deferred for three months in May 2020 till Sept 2020.

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