Hailing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council's decision to give initial two months' relaxation in filing of returns, industry said that the move will give ample time for businesses to prepare their IT systems and comply with the new indirect tax regime.
"It will give more time to traders to prepare themselves to comply with GST law," Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said welcoming the announcement by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after the Council's meeting here on Sunday.
"With the objective of ensuring smooth rollout of GST and taking into account the concerns expressed by the trade and industry regarding filing of the returns in GST regime, it has been decided that, for the first two months of GST implementation, the tax would be payable based on a simple return containing summary of outward and inward supplies which will be submitted before 20th of the succeeding month," Finance Ministry said.
Aiming to provide a sense of comfort to the taxpayers and give them an elbow room to attune themselves with the requirements of the changed system, no late fees and penalty would be levied for the interim period, it said.
"Much needs to be done at the level of empowerment of small businesses with technology as about 60 per cent of the traders still have not adopted computerisation. It is a major challenge and government should devise a way through which traders can make digital compliance as required under GST," CAIT National President B.C.Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.
Pratik Jain, Partner and Leader Indirect Tax said: "Relaxation of time for filing initial invoice wise returns is a welcome move which, to some extent, allays fears of readiness both from Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) and industry's point of view."
The GST council has offered relaxation in the timelines for filing the invoice-wise details in GSTR1 for July and August. Such details can be filed up to September 5 for July and September 20 for August. A summary statement of self-declared tax liability is required to be filed in Form 3B by August 20 for July and September 20 for August.
Ansh Bhargava, Senior Consultant, Taxmann.com said: "It is a welcome decision by the GST Council on the filing as it would allow taxpayers to get accustomed and adapt to the new system of taxation."
Archit Gupta, Founder and CEO ClearTax, said: "The Council's decision to allow flexibility in return filing has come as a welcome boon for many. Businesses now have time till September to purchase and familiarise themselves with GST-compliant software. Using the 2-month transition period wisely will help businesses avoid unnecessary delays once all rules and regulations are fully enforced in September."
Rajeev Dimri, Leader, Indirect Tax, BMR and Associates LLP said: "This measure should significantly help in assuaging the concerns of inadequate readiness of GSTN being faced by the industry and confirms that preparedness of GSTN will not be a roadblock for the implementation of GST as was being anticipated by the industry.
"The Council approved draft rules relating to advance rulings, appeals and revision, assessment, anti-profiteering and fund settlement. With removal of major road blocks on the pathway to implementation of GST, the deadline of July 1 appears to be an absolute reality."
Jaitley expressed confidence that GST laws from all pending states shall be in place by the end of next week. He further announced that the official launch of GST shall take place at midnight on June 30.
The Finance Minister mentioned that further deliberations are required to reach consensus on e-waybill rules. Till then, an alternate rule authorising states to continue using existing systems for road permits shall be put in place.
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