The new GST return is expected to be ready in April but the government may not mandate its use until the general elections are over as it is keen to avoid any fresh controversy related to filing. Sources said the move will also help get crucial feedback on the new form before it is put to use. Till it is made mandatory, the existing return filing system will continue, officials told TOI. The new return was devised after adverse feedback from trade and industry, which complained of severe compliance burden imposed by a three-stage filing process. The revamped form will require fewer stages of filing.
The GST Council that is scheduled to meet on Saturday is expected to discuss options to ease the compliance burden further, including considering of quarterly filing by certain businesses. This will be in addition to lowering the tax rates on a few items such as digital cameras, air-conditioners and dishwashers that currently face 28% levy. Opposition party, led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, are repeatedly citing the initial compliance hiccups, partly due to a shift towards a completely electronic mode, to argue that the GST implementation has not been smooth. The government has, however, maintained that all glitches are being removed and the new tax mechanism has benefited consumers as well as businesses as several taxes and cesses have been subsumed and also allows for credit for taxes paid during multiple stages.