CBIC extends deadline for filing GST Annual Returns

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on Wednesday announced that it has extended the deadline for filing returns of Goods and Services Tax (GST) by two months to February 28, 2021. Earlier, the due date was December 31, 2020.

There have been demands to extend the date of income tax return (ITR) filing firstly due to the pandemic, and second, for not able to meet the deadline of December 31.

According to the government officials, “Businesses and tax consultants demanded respite on grounds of complexities in compliance and disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

This is applicable to the businesses filing annual returns as well as audit reports for the year to March 31, 2020. Earlier, the taxman had extended the last date from October 31 to December 31, 2020. Now, businesses can file the annual return, using Form GSTR-9, as well as the reconciliation statement, Form GSTR-9C, for the financial year 2019-20 by February 28, 2021

According to experts, “The deadline to file annual returns [GSTR 9 and 9C] has been extended a couple of times for various reasons such as complexities in the form and filing.”

It was reported that GST has been a confusing and complex for GST professionals and businesses both. It was difficult to understand the intricate GSTR-9 form, while tallying their monthly and quarterly filed returns with their books of accounts. A mismatch between input tax credit (ITC) appearing in the GSTR 2A—a purchase-related tax return that is automatically generated—and tax credit auto-filled in the GSTR-9, has caused a lot of confusion and pain for both GST professionals and taxpayers.

However, the extension of the deadline is expected to allow more time to businesses and tax practitioners to overcome the challenges in filling returns.

Meanwhile form GSTR-9 requires the bifurcation of all input tax credit availed from inputs, input services and capital goods. This requires a complete and thorough analysis of the books of accounts of a taxpayer, in addition to verification by the concerned auditor.

Also, HSN [Harmonized System of Nomenclature] summary details are required to be disclosed mandatorily by suppliers having a turnover above Rs 1.5 crore, which is time-consuming, experts say.

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