The GST Council on Friday announced the new simplified tax return form which requires a taxpayer to file one return every month.  The transition will be done in phases over the period of next six months, till then the existing system will continue.

Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, said, “It will take about six months for GSTN to prepare for it so for that period the current arrangement of GSTR3B and GSTR 1 will continue. This will be the first phase of transition where the current system will continue for the next six months”

Composition dealers and dealers having Nil transaction shall have facility to file quarterly return. Adhia added, “Composition dealer and zero transaction dealers will continue to file on a quarterly basis. Today, we find that the returns which are filed, 30% are nil returns, which means there is no transaction on them.”

Provisional input credit will also be allowed based on purchase declaration made by the buyer. However, sellers would have to upload invoices.  If the buyer has any problem, they can ask sellers to correct the error. The press release states that “There shall be unidirectional flow of invoices uploaded by the seller on anytime basis during the month which would be the valid document to avail input tax credit by the buyer. Buyer would also be able to continuously see the uploaded invoices during the month. There shall not be any need to upload the purchase invoices also. Invoices for B2B transaction shall need to use HSN at four digit level or more to achieve uniformity in the reporting system.”

Sandeep Chilana, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, says, “The GST Council’s decision to simplify the GST return form by making it a single page return is likely to bring buoyancy to tax collections on account of improved compliance. However, any positive impact will only be visible after 6-9 months once new forms are made effective. Until such time the old form will continue.”

Chilana adds, “The GST Council will have to ensure that the much-desired need for simplification should not push the GST ecosystem back to the assessment era, requiring assessments by tax authorities for verification of credit claims by assessees.”

The Finance Minister also addressed the issue of deep distress within sugarcane farmers.  To deal with the contingency, a committee of five ministers will be formed to give recommendations within 2 weeks, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while addressing the 27th meeting of GST Council.  He added that the committee will be announced within next 2 days.

On the issue of converting the ownership pattern of  GSTN the finance minister has suggested that the shareholding of 51 percent should be taken over by the government, which should be equally divided between the Centre and state. Currently, 49 percent is held by the government while the remaining 51 percent is with the private financial institution, comprising HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd. The network was established on March 28, 2013 during the UPA government and it provides the IT backbone to the new indirect tax model.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after GST Council meeting, said, that there were several items on the agenda followed with detailed discussion on the first year’s revenue collection. He said that members expressed satisfaction over revenue growth.

Last month GST collection crossed the milestone of Rs 1 lakh crore for the first time for which Jaitley took to Twitter and wrote, “GST collections in April exceeding Rs. 1 lakh crore is a landmark achievement and a confirmation of increased economic activity as brought out by other reports.”

In March the figure was Rs 89,264 crore. The total GST collection in 2017-18 stood at Rs 7.41 lakh crore. “With the improved economic climate, introduction of e-way bill and improved GST compliance, GST collections would continue to show a positive trend,” he tweeted.

It was stated in an official release that, “The total gross GST revenue collected in April 2018 is Rs 1,03,458 crore of which CGST is Rs 18,652 crore, SGST is Rs 25,704 crore, IGST is Rs 50,548 crore (including Rs 21,246 crore collected on imports) and Cess is Rs 8,554 crore – including Rs 702 crore collected on imports.”