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The government on Wednesday exhorted businesses not to wait till the last day to file GST returns, saying just over half of registered taxpayers have so far paid taxes and 11 lakh have not yet completed even registration.
Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the government has been flexible to demands of the industry and it is now the turn of the businesses to do their bit.
Speaking at the Business Standard roundtable on GST, he said 72.5 lakh people have migrated to the GST regime, but only 44 lakh have so far filed returns.
As many as 11 lakh have not yet completed registration on GST Network, he said, warning of penalties for those who are subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) but have not registered.
"Also, 21 lakh new registrations have happened. So, we can roughly say there is an expansion of tax net by 30 per cent," he said.
There are 6 crore private enterprises in the country, which also indicates that there is further scope of widening.
Adhia said the government has been accommodative to the demands of the industry and has extended the date for filing initial GST returns form GSTR-3B as well as final returns of GSTR 1, 2 and 3.
"We have given long rope to the taxpayers... There was flexibility," he added.
The government had earlier this week extended time for businesses to file returns. Now, sales return or GSTR-1 for July will have to be filed by September 10 instead of September 5 earlier and purchase returns or GSTR-2 can be filed by September 25 instead of September 10 earlier.
According to Adhia, the deadline was extended as there was a rush of 80,000 returns per hour at the GST Network portal on September 4 and the server gave out error message.
"The mentality of people is if we have to do something, we will do it on the last day. If too many people try to file return on the last day, there would be rush. So, the right thing would be to file returns within time... Business should now get ready," he stressed.
About TRAN-1 form used by businesses to claim transitional credit, Adhia said the claim amount is "staggering" and the department will have to look into it.
"Implementation of GST has been smooth so far... In such a big reform, there will be hiccups. We are passing through the initial period of 6 months, but the issues would be sorted out," the secretary promised.