The all-powerful GST Council is set to discuss a proposal to exempt small businesses with annual turnover of less than Rs 2 crore from filing annual returns. Senior officials said that despite three extensions for filing the returns, the number has been unsatisfactory. “It is ranging from 25-27 percent despite extension of deadlines. The GST Council will discuss the issue in its meeting on September 20,” said an official. He further said that the Council will decide if the mandatory return filing requirement be suspended for only 2017-18 or for subsequent financial years as well. “There is also a view that government should wait till November 30 to see if the number of those filing returns goes up,” he said adding there would be many procedural issues that would be considered by the Council this time.
As per official data, out of about 1.39 crore total assessees, nearly 85 percent have an annual turnover of Rs 2 crore or less. Tax experts said that the proposed move to dispense small taxpayers from filing annual returns would ease compliance burden and also help tax authorities focus on big assessees. “There is perhaps a need for rethinking. There is a view that why put more compliance burden on small taxpayers.