As many as 4.37 million assessees have filed summary returns for the goods and services tax (GST) by the deadline on Monday. This constitutes around 56% of the registered taxpayers. To simplify the return-filing process — traders have been complaining about glitches — a committee has been constituted. GST Network Chairman A B Pandey will head the committee. He said the panel members would consult tax experts and trade bodies to make the process convenient, having minimal transactions. The panel comprises tax commissioners of Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Punjab, and senior officials from the department of revenue and the CBEC. As many as 1.48 million taxpayers filed their returns on Monday. Though 44% of assessees are yet to file summary returns for October, the rate of compliance has gone up, compared to earlier months. For September, the deadline for which was October 20, 3.93 million had filed returns. And, for August, the deadline for which was September 20, 2.85 million had filed returns. Some continued filing returns even after the deadlines. For September, the total number of taxpayers who filed returns was 4.2 million; for August, it was 5.13 million. Trying to make sense of why 44% assessees had not filed returns this time either, tax experts said about 40% had nil returns and would probably file later. The GST Council had earlier this month said those who had nil transactions would be allowed to file simple summary returns.
But, this facility will be available only from January.GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar said, “There is steady rise in the number of taxpayers filing their GSTR 3B returns every month. This is encouraging. The trend of taxpayers filing their returns on the last day continues though.” He said taxpayers were urged to file their returns early to avoid last-minute hassles. M S Mani of Deloitte said the GST Council had clarified assessees needed to file only the GSTR 1, which is the sales returns, as of now. Earlier, there was uncertainty whether or not they would have to file the other two returns — GSTR 2 and GSTR 3. But now, GSTN is simplifying those returns and new dates of filing them would be disclosed later. As such, assessees got more time to file GSTR-3B, as they are not caught up filing other returns. “We are also discussing with experts and taking opinions from various other stakeholders as to what simplification could be achieved. The whole idea is that people who have nil transactions but have taken a registration for future use should be able to file GSTR 1 and GSTR 3B by pressing just a few buttons. That is our ultimate aim,” Pandey told PTI. He added, “If people have very minimal transactions, they should be able to file both the returns in a manner without going through full process. Therefore, the display of the forms will be based on certain questions posed to the dealer.” Pandey also said panel will also look into what information on returns should be taken and at what frequency.