23% GST pay­ers can file re­turns via SMS from April

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Business - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: One in five GST payer will get away with­out hav­ing to file monthly or quar­terly re­turns from April. In­stead of fill­ing up the form on­line, all that those with ‘Nil’ re­turns will have to do is to send an SMS to a spec­i­fied num­ber and con­firm it us­ing a one-time pass­word.

The move is part of the over­all ex­er­cise to sim­plify com­pli­ance as many of the ‘Nil’ re­turn fil­ers, who ac­count for al­most 23% of the 1.2 crore GST base, had reg­is­tered to be el­i­gi­ble for con­tracts from gov­ern­ment and other agen­cies but do not un­der­take any busi­ness.

Once the new re­turns kick in from April, over 70% of those reg­is­tered for GST can make do with quar­terly fil­ing of re­turns as their turnover is less than the spec­i­fied level of Rs 5 crore. “Only 7% of the tax­pay­ers with an­nual turnover of over Rs 5 crore will have to file monthly re­turns,” said Prakash Ku­mar, chief ex­ec­u­tive of GST Net­work that pro­vides the IT back­bone for the in­di­rect tax regime and has de­vel­oped the new forms.

More than 51% of the tax­pay­ers can use the SMS-based com­pli­ance tool or opt for Sa­haj, the form meant for those en­ti­ties with B2C trans­ac­tions and have an an­nual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore.

GST, which was launched over two years ago, had faced se­vere crit­i­cism as busi­nesses, es­pe­cially the smaller ones, com­plained of stiff com­pli­ance bur­den that re­quired three-stage fil­ing. Through the new forms, the gov­ern­ment has sought to re­duce the com­pli­ance bur­den with smaller busi­nesses re­quired to file quar­terly re­turns, al­though taxes will have to be paid on a monthly ba­sis.

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