Compliance Nightmare

Compliance Nightmare

As the third quarter ends, filing annual GST returns appears to have become a challenge

Illustration by Nilanjan Das Illustration by Nilanjan Das

As GST annual return filing and audit deadlines approach, businesses now face the uphill battle of yet another complex round of compliance.

The GST audit presents a unique challenge for businesses that have operations in multiple states and accordingly registrations in all those states. The GST law requires these entities to get state-wise audits but the legal requirement for any company is to get one statutory audit done for all operations across the country. This audit is not done state-wise, but GST audits would be done state-wise. Now the challenge for these entities is to breakdown the numbers - sales, expenses, etc. - state-wise. This would require a lot of number crunching, tallying, verification, etc. Given that the GST audits have to be done along with annual returns filing, all coincidentally on 31 March - this is going to require considerable effort from businesses. The bigger firms can still manage it because they have the wherewithal; it is the smaller and mid-level companies that will be challenged to comply with these audit requirements.

Though the deadline has been deferred from 31 December to 31 March, this is scant consolation for most businesses, as the trouble has only been postponed not lessened.