With taxpayers continuing to throng the GST Network (GSTN) portal over the last few days, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday urged the assessees to avoid last-minute rush for tax filing. Nearly 75% of the eligible taxpayers were still to file the summarised return (GSTR 3B) for August on the last day. Jaitley said GSTN, which operates the IT backbone for the new indirect tax regime, had no difficulty in uploading returns till Tuesday night, but if 75% of businesses rush to the portal on a single day, there would be trouble.
“Today is the last day to pay taxes for August. Till last night, about 25% people had filed the return and paid their taxes. So, 75% waited for the last day,” he said. Jaitley added that the GST Network (GSTN) has the capacity to handle 1 lakh returns per hour, which translates to 24 lakh returns in a day. As FE had reported earlier, only about 36 lakh invoices had been uploaded a week before the deadline for filing full-fledged returns for July, the deadline for which was September 4. This was only about 12% of the expected invoice uploads, and meant that taxpayers would have to upload over 2.50 crore invoices in the last week leading up to the deadline. The heavy rush in subsequent days prevented assessees to file return, forcing the GST Council to extend the dates of filing invoice-wise detailed return for July by a month.
Since the businesses have a broad idea about the taxes to be paid, they should start filing returns by 14th or 15th of the next month to have an easy entry into GSTN systems, Jaitley said. “Therefore, I would appeal to everybody, it is in their interest (to file returns early),” he added. Although GSTN suffers from several technical glitches causing inconvenience to taxpayers, their tendency to wait for the last few day to file return has further aggravated the situation. In its 21st meeting earlier this month, the GST Council constituted a group of ministers to monitor and resolve the glitches in the network. The GoM, headed by Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi, met earlier this week, and said most problems afflicting GSTN would be resolved by the end of October.
To ease compliance burden, the GST Council has allowed businesses to file their initial tax returns in form GSTR-3B in the first six months of the GST rollout till December. Accordingly, the GSTR-3B returns would have to be filed by the 20th of the next month, which means August returns need to be uploaded by September 20. Over 47 lakh GSTR-3B returns were filed for July and the tally is expected to be similar for August. Taxes to the tune of Rs 95,000 crore were collected in the first month of the rollout. Till noon on Wednesday, only 18.41 lakh businesses had filed returns for August.