The Centre is considering a proposal from the industry to allow small firms to file quarterly returns even as they pay taxes on a monthly basis under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
This follows the troubles these small firms are having regarding complying with the GST norms due to their limitations in getting professional help, lack of connectivity and technological glitches.
Sources said discussions were on regarding the threshold limit for small firms who could be granted such a relaxation.
‘Lack IT infrastructure’
Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, said in a statement that, “filing of GST return may be made on a quarterly basis, as against the current monthly filing requirement as the MSME sector is still not well equipped with the IT infrastructure and a qualified manpower; this small measure will help bring them into the GST mainstream.”
The suggestion was made at finance minister Arun Jaitley’s meeting on Thursday with industry bodies and exporters to address their GST-related problems. The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) raised demands including seeking exemption for merchant exporters from GST.
“Merchant exporters account for over 30% of country’s exports who usually work on razor thin margins of 2-4%,” FIEO said in a statement. “The imposition of GST has made their costing go haywire, particularly for products having higher GST rate, as they have to pay GST and seek refund after some time lag.”
They also wanted the Centre to expedite GST refunds to help them tide over the liquidity crunch. “... even in the best of situation, input tax credit refund would not be available before the first week of November,” FIEO said.
“Most of the exporters, particularly from MSME category, hardly have financial wherewithal to pay GST liabilities for three months without having refund in the meantime.”
“For ease of doing business especially for the MSME, provisional input tax credit period may be extended to 6 months from the current 2 months’ period; this will help cross matching of invoices through the GSTN portal and also save the blockage of the working capital for the small players,” said the CII’s Mr. Banerjee.
Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) Council Member Satwinder Singh said concerns regarding reverse charge mechanism (RCM) and refund were raised in the meeting.
“Under RCM, threshold exemption for payment of tax may be increased from the present ?5,000 to ?50,000 which shall help ease burden of excessive compliances especially for the MSME players,” the CII suggested. “Format of returns may also be simplified and only basic core details may be required to be furnished,” the CII added.
Representatives from KPMG, Amazon, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Laghu Udyog Bharati, GST service providers, ICSI and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India were also present. FICCI, in a statement, said it wants the GST Council members to quickly address the issues that have been thrown up in the implementation process.