Taxpayers should file their GST returns for 2017-18 by August 31 and failure to do so will attract very severe consequences, including hefty penalty, Chief Commissioner of Customs and CGST Visakhapatnam Zone, Naresh Penumaka, has said. Though only 15 days of time was left, 80% of traders have not filed it so far. It involved a consolidated filing of the monthly returns filed by them and the date had been extended several times and would not be extended further, he said at a press conference here. They should approach the nearest Central Excise officials for hand-holding and filing the returns, he suggested. Besides, not passing on the benefit of GST to customers or indulging in any fraud in input tax credit or any attempt to use it as working capital or not remitting GST collected from consumers might lead to imprisonment, he warned traders.
Traders should also issue a bill collecting GST as per the reduction effected by the GST Council from time to time, he said. The Directorate General of Analytics and Risk Management was analysing bulk data to check GST fraud. The National Anti-Profiteering Authority would also investigate it. He denied that cumbersome process was the reason for the delay in filing returns citing 90 % compliance at the national level and some States reporting as high as 70%. “Some are deliberately delaying payment,” he said. Also, the Central Excise and Service Tax dues pending for the past two years also should be paid in two weeks, Mr. Naresh said warning of imprisonment of it was not complied with. With the modifications in GST returns from October and January 2020 new returns should be filed and GSTR 3B would be done away with, Nr. Naresh revealed. The current year’s target for Andhra Pradesh was ₹58,222 crore against which so far only ₹16,037 crore was collected, Mr. Naresh said adding the previous year’s collection was ₹50,000 crore. Traders should file returns and pay the tax to improve collection, he said.
Mr. Naresh also urged importers and exporters to make use of the trade facilitation measures in Customs as only 51% of importers were using the Direct Port Entry and 6 % of the exporters Direct Port Entry schemes. Principal Commissioner, Customs, Visakhapatnam Zone, D.K. Srinivas, said there was exponential growth and for the first time the zone crossed ₹10,000 crore mark in customs duty collection in the previous year. It kept pace with the 20% increase in the target during the current year with ₹4,700 crore collected in the first four months. Besides IGST returns and ‘drawbacks’ of ₹400 crore was paid. Principal Commissioner, GST of Visakhapatnam Zone, Faheem Ahmed, announced the schedule for awareness programs in the city and divisions.