In order to avoid the last minute rush of return filers, which often leads to crashing of its portal, the GST Network (GSTN) has come up with a few ideas under the new return filing system to be implemented from the next financial year.
Under the new system, return filings will be done in a staggered manner. For big taxpayers with annual turnover of Rs 5 crore or more, the last day for filing returns will be 20th of every month. For small taxpayers with annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore, the due date will be 25th of every month.
"It will help avoid the last minute rush," GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar told Business Today.
Under the new scheme, those who report nil turnover can file their return by just sending an SMS. They don't need to come to the portal. Under GST, every registered person or business has to file returns even if there's no business done. In 2017-18, nil turnovers accounted for 22.73% of returns filed during the year.
As many as 70.22% of those who filed returns in 2017-18 reported an annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore. They can opt for quarterly returns.
Out of all the taxpayers, 28% of them had an annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore and they made only B2C transaction. Under the new return filing system, they can simply go for Sahaj, a two-table form. Only 7.06% taxpayers have to compulsorily file monthly returns.
In a departure from the existing system, there will be only one due date in a month. There are no separate filings for GSTR-1, GSTR-2A, etc. Earlier, the due date for GSTR-1 was 11th, GSTR2A was 15th, and GSTR-3B was 20th of every month. But under the new system, the moment one files Ret (equivalent of GSTR-3B under the new system), the Anx-1 (GSTR-1 equivalent) and Anx-2 (GSTR-2A equivalent) are deemed to have been filed.
"There are no separate filings of Anx-1 and Anx-2 as such under the new system. The pressure on taxpayers for multiple filing dates won't be there," says Kumar.
On the continuous problems faced by taxpayers on the last two days before the due date, Kumar says if everyone comes at the last 4-5 hours, no system can be able to handle the load.
At the moment, the concurrency of GSTN portal is 1.5 lakh. Concurrency, here, means the number of users who can file return at any given point of time.
He further says that a large number of the taxpayers are in the habit of filing late returns. He says that only 60-62% of the taxpayers file on time. "There are cases we have identified who regularly file returns late by 10-20 days," he says.
Frequent technical glitches in the GSTN website has been a big cause of inconvenience for businesses. Last minute return filings and other compliances continue to get affected due to technical snags. Taxpayers have complained that every month the GSTN website stops working for hours during last two days of filing returns.