Nine days before the annual return filing deadline for Goods and Services Tax (GST), 72.5% of taxpayers from Gujarat have not filed their returns. Out of 7.7 lakh taxpayers, barely 2.11 lakh taxpayers have filed the annual GST return through the forms GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C, according to data by state commercial tax department.“The rate of return filing is less because there are several issues with the annual return forms due to which taxpayers are confused. The form needs to be simplified and thus, it is ideal that the government extends the deadline by at least three months,” said Varis Isani, a city-based tax practitioner. “No additional input tax credit (ITC) claims can be made via GSTR-9, even though additional tax payable found during reconciliation must be duly deposited with the government,” said Urvish Patel, president, Gujarat Sales Tax Bar Association (GSTBA).
Confusion also prevails among taxpayers for submitting details of applicable tax. “GSTR-1 enables taxpayers to make amendments to the supplies, whereas actual taxes paid are reflected in GSTR-3(B). It is not clear as to how the amendment is supposed to be included in GSTR-9,” Patel said. The Union government had extended the deadline from December 30, 2018, to June 30, 2019, and then to August 31, 2019. Tax practitioners have further sought to extend this deadline to November 30. Against a national return filing average of 21.72%, some 27.4% returns were filed in Gujarat. “Even though the return filing process is slow, Gujarat’s average is much better than several other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra,” said a senior state GST (SGST) department official.