The 27th meeting of the GST Council tomorrow will among other things consider introduction of simplified tax return form and also decide on proposal for converting GST Network into a government company. The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley-chaired council, comprising state finance ministers, will meet through video conferencing. The meeting comes at a time when Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections achieved its record high by exceeding Rs 1 lakh crore milestone in April. The government mopped up Rs 1.03 lakh crore in GST collections last month.
The new indirect tax regime, which was rolled out on July 1 last year, had earned a revenue of Rs 7.41 lakh crore in entire 2017-18. A decision on return simplification is on the agenda with the Sushil Modi-led group of ministers (GoM) putting the three models of new return form for discussion before the council, an official said, adding GSTN proposal will also come up for consideration.
Currently, five private financial institutions — HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd — hold 51 per cent stake in GSTN, which was incorporated on March 28, 2013, in the erstwhile UPA regime. The remaining 49 per cent stake is with the Centre and states. With Jaitley been advised by doctors to stay in isolation to avoid contracting infection, the meeting has been planned through video conferencing.
The council, the official said, will deliberate on the new simplified form to be common for both small and large tax payers and providing some relief for NIL return filers by allowed them to file return quarterly. At present, NIL return filers have to file returns monthly. Besides, monthly return filing process for other and quarterly return filing for composition taxpayers will continue.
The council had in March held discussions on the two models of GST returns and suggested that the GoM work on further simplification. The official said the amendment to the law would also be taken up once the council clears the new GST return format. One of the models presented before the council was that provisional credit should not be granted unless the taxpayers file returns and pay taxes.
The second model stated that provisional credit can be granted to a taxpayer, but returns must be filed within three-four months. It added that taxes must be paid, else the credit amount would be reversed. After consulting the stakeholders, the GoM earlier this month worked out a third model for return filing according to which credit could be extended once the invoice uploaded by the supplier is verified by the purchaser on the GSTN portal.
Jaitley had earlier this month asked Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia to “examine the possibility” of converting GSTN into a majority government company or a 100 per cent government company. GSTN provides the IT backbone for the new indirect tax regime.