Just one out of 4 assessees has submitted GST audit conciliation report so far for FY18

Shishir Sinha New Delhi | Updated on January 29, 2020 Published on January 28, 2020

Last date for filing FY annual return is January 31

Three out of four Goods & Services Tax (GST) assessees have yet to submit audit conciliation statement for fiscal year 2017-18 (FY 18). The due date for submitting it is January 31.

It is mandatory to file an annual return. There are three annual return forms, GSTR 9, GSTR 9A and GSTR 9C. Every GST assessee (those who submitted all the monthly return forms of GSTR 3B and GSTR 1) has to file an annual return in GSTR 9.

Among these assessees, every registered taxable person whose turnover during a financial year exceeds ₹2 crore, will also be required to get his accounts audited by a chartered accountant or a cost accountant and then submit a reconciliation statement in GSTR 9C along with GSTR 9. The assessees under the composition scheme (businesses with turnover up to ₹1.5 crore) will be required to file the GSTR 9A form.

According to data made available with the GSTN as on January 27, the IT backbone of indirect tax system, out of the 67.64 lakhs eligible to GSTR 9, little over 31 lakh, or nearly 46 per cent of assessees, have filed.

For GSTR 9A, the number of eligible assessees is around 19 lakh, but around only 7.38 lakh assessees, or 39 per cent, have filed the returns so far.

However, the bigger problem is with big assessees who have to submit an audit report. Out of 12.42 lakhs eligible assessees, only around 3 lakh have filed, which is around 24 per cent.

Assessees and experts on one side and tax officials on the other have their own set of arguments to explain the current impasse.

One of the common grouse from assessees is network problem. It was alleged that the GSTN portal was not responsive last week (during January 20-22) and hence the number of filings was abysmally low. The tool was showing “Error Occurred” or “Processed but pending” as the status and was not generating the report. Also, the 9C utility was not accepting copy paste, so taxpayers had to manually punch in the data, resulting in delay in uploading

According to tax consultants, dealers are trying to upload the financials without checking the file size and that resulted in delays. The utility has prescribed 5 MB as the size limit. Where annual return in Form GSTR 9 is filed, the GSTR 9C utility should get auto populated with the details available in GSTR 9.

However, there were instances where taxpayers were unable to download the JSON file of GSTR 9C with auto populated data.

However, GSTN officials said that there is general tendency to wait for the last date in the anticipation that it will be extended and that is why the pace of filing return has been slow so far. Some officials said that there are also connectivity issues at the assessees’ end which is also creating problems.

“Many of the audit reports have internal firewalls, which is causing problems,” one of the official said while emphasising the fact that GSTN is very responsive and ready to help and support. In fact, it has provided all the help at the specially created twitter handle @askGSTtech.

Harpreet Singh, Partner at KPMG, said that technical glitches in uploading the GST annual reports such as slow system responsiveness, 9C utility not accepting copy-paste option, non-population of GSTR 9 fields in downloaded JSON file of GSTR 9 were some of the issues that could have resulted in the low compliance number during last week.

“Given the multiple delays, ideally the annual filings should have been appropriately staggered during the last few months, surprisingly, that does not appear to be the case,” he said.

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Published on January 28, 2020
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