FinMin notifies norm limiting ITC to 10% in case of GST details mismatch

Shishir Sinha New Delhi | Updated on December 27, 2019 Published on December 27, 2019

Businesses take advantage of facilities provided under existing system to generate fake invoices that cause loss to the Government   -  undefined undefined

Tax authority given the right to restrict the use of balance in electronic credit ledger

In an effort to curb the menace of fake invoices and tax evasion, the Finance Ministry has notified a new norm of limiting the input tax credit to 10 per cent in case of GST details mismatch.

Experts feel that this will force businesses to restrict themselves to matched details and ignore the mismatched ones and thus incur losses, which could go into crores for big companies, due to complexities involved.

The change in the norm, the second in three months, has been initiated following a decision by the GST Council. Earlier, in October, the government limited ITC in case of details not uploaded by suppliers to 20 per cent which has now been halved. According to a new notification to be effective from January 1, ITC to be availed by a registered person in respect of invoices or debit notes, the details of which have not been uploaded by the suppliers, shall not exceed 10 per cent of the eligible credit available in respect of invoices or debit notes the details of which have been uploaded by the suppliers.

Two return forms

Businesses take advantage of facilities provided under existing system to generate fake invoices that cause loss to the Government. The existing system prescribes assessees to file two return forms — GSTR 1 (outward sales with tax liability) and GSTR 3B (summary returns with final tax payment). Since both are not auto linked, this could result in showing higher liability, claiming higher input tax credit and paying less tax in cash.

In other words, irrespective of the credit being visible in GSTR 2A (auto generated return for purchases), the service recipient used to claim credit without any restriction subject to having the invoice copy and satisfying other conditions laid down under the law. There is feeling that one of the reasons for availing higher input tax credit on the basis of fake invoices was the mismatch between the two — GSTR 1 and GSTR 3B.

This was affecting the government’s revenue. This has forced it to limit the ITC in case of details not matched and encourages the companies to monitor whether the suppliers are uploading their returns on a regular basis. However, experts feel that such a mechanism will lead to compliance cost for companies. Also, the companies might not prefer to go behind suppliers to see whether they have filed returns or not. Hence, they would focus only on matched details and incur loss on account of others.

Electronic Credit Ledger

The government has introduced additional conditions for use of amount available in Electronic Credit Ledger. It has given the right to the tax authority to restrict the use of balance in electronic credit ledger by recording the reasons to believe in writing. The key reasons for restricting credit are: invoice issued by registered person not in existence and recipient is not in procession of goods/services /invoice on which credit is claimed. Post restriction, the tax authority, upon being satisfied that conditions for disallowing debit of electronic credit ledger as above, no longer exist, can allow such credit in the electronic credit ledger.

Controlling tax evasion

According to Harpreet Singh, Partner at KPMG, one hopes that automatic blocking of credit is resorted to only where fraudulent intention is proved beyond doubt and the same is not used on a regular basis, as casual resort to the said provision may lead to harsh consequences for many innocent defaulters.

Rajat Mohan, Senior Partner with AMRG, said GST frauds are on the rise and so is the fiscal deficit which is forcing the government to introduce new methods to control tax evasion and take punitive action against the accused.

Published on December 27, 2019

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.