Even as the last date to file GST annual return and reconciliation statements is just around the corner, there aren’t many taxpayers who have been able to work around the “systemic/policy” issues in the filing process so far. While the last date to file annual return and reconciliation statements in GSTR-9, GSTR-9A, and GSTR-9C is August 31, 2019, “the available data shows that till August 3 only 14,85,863 GSTR-9 returns have been filed while all non-composition taxpayers are required to file the said annual return,” Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) Chairman Pranab K. Das wrote in a letter to all Principal Chief Commissioners and Chief Commissioners of Central Tax.
Moreover, 4,33,148 GSTR-9A returns and 11,334 GSTR-9C returns filed till August 3 is also “sub-optimal,” Das wrote in the letter, a copy of which was seen by Financial Express Online. Following the poor rate of return filed due to problems faced by taxpayers in the filing process, Das has directed the commissioners to organise outreach initiatives to help taxpayers with the filing and guide them wherever required in the remaining three weeks. “Wherever required, they should be guided through the various steps of the return filing process. Towards this end, I request you to organize outreach initiatives in your zones to help taxpayers file their returns in time,” according to the letter written last week. The outreach programmes may be organised both at Commissionerate level as well as Division level as “the overarching objective of the exercise is to ensure that the best help and assistance is available to taxpayers in filing their annual returns/reconciliation statement well before the due date.”
CBIC had received ‘several representations’ from taxpayers seeking clarity on various aspects of the filing process for which the board had issued statements in June and July this year. For instance, many taxpayers according to CBIC, had talked about a mismatch between auto-populated data and the actual entry in their books of accounts or returns, for example, there was a common problem in Table 4 of GSTR-9 form where details may have been missed in GSTR-1 form but tax was already paid in GSTR-3B form and hence taxpayers saw a mismatch. Then there were clarifications issued around the payment of any unpaid tax, primary data source for declaration in annual return, challenges in reporting of information otherwise not reported in regular returns etc. The board, following the release of statements, wants “any systemic/policy issues faced by the taxpayers in filing” to be brought to its attention.