GST Council allows small businesses to file returns on quarterly basis

In a bid to ease GST compliance and return filing for small taxpayers, the GST Council on October 5 allowed them to file GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B once a quarter instead of every month.

This had been an earlier proposal of the GST council, which was approved today.

“As a further step towards reducing the compliance burden particularly on the small taxpayers having aggregate annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore, the council’s earlier recommendation of allowing filing of returns on a quarterly basis with monthly payments by such taxpayers to be implemented with effect from January 1, 2021,” said an official statement from the council after the meeting.

“Such quarterly taxpayers would, for the first two months of the quarter, have an option to pay 35 percent of the net cash tax liability of the last quarter using an auto-generated challan,” it said.

Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said the simplification would enable taxpayers to file GST returns through the two forms eight times a year (four times GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B each), instead of 24 times.

Tax experts welcomed the move. “Relaxation on monthly return filing for small taxpayers and facility to pay GST in installments is a welcome move. It will help small taxpayers to achieve some liquidity,” said Rajat Bose, partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas.

“The reduction in the number of returns for small taxpayers is a welcome step. But these taxpayers must continue to upload invoices dynamically and also accurately to make sure their customers are able to claim ITC on a timely basis. Payment of tax on an estimated basis would make life easier for small taxpayers, they can then carry out detailed ITC reconciliation quarterly,” said Archit Gupta, CEO of Cleartax.

The council also decided to revise the due date for furnishing quarterly GSTR-1 to the 13th of the month by January onwards. “In order to ensure auto-population of input tax credit and liability in GSTR 3B, form GSTR 1 would be mandatorily required to be filed before form GSTR3B from April 2021,” Pandey said.

The council also said a refund can be claimed in a validated bank account linked with PAN or Aadhaar from January 2021.

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