Road map for simplified return filing decided: GST Council

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley chairs the 27th GST Council meeting through video conferencing in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley chairs the 27th GST Council meeting through video conferencing in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

The Goods and Services Tax Council in its 27th meeting on Friday,  decided on a road map for introducing simplified return filing.

A single monthly return filing system would come into force in six months, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said.

Adhia added that in the next six months the new system of return will have a single system of return for every taxpayer.

“Composition dealer and zero transaction dealers will continue to file on a quarterly basis. Today, we find that the returns which are filed, 30% are nil returns, which means there is no transaction on them,” he explained.

The panel, the highest decision making body of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, agreed to a proposal to convert the GST Network — the company that provides IT backbone to the new indirect tax regime — into a government-owned entity.

Announcing the decisions taken today, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, who chaired the meeting conducted through a video conferencing, said  the council agreed to a proposal of buying out the stake of private entities to make GSTN a government-owned entity. The central government will own 50 per cent and the remaining would be collectively held by state governments.

As of bow, GST Network or GSTN is 24.5 per cent owned by the central government and a similar percentage is held by state governments collectively. The remaining 51 per cent is with five private financial insitutitions — HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd.

The  council also deferred a decision on levying a cess on sugar and referred it to a five-member committee of state finance ministers. The Centre seeks to raise additional resources for providing production subsidy worth Rs 1,540 crore to cane farmers. And the proposals of cess comes in the wake of huge losses suffered by mills as ex-factory prices have fallen to Rs 26-28 per kg as against the production cost of Rs 35 per kg plus.

The council also referred the issue of incentivising digital payments to a group of state finance ministers.

Jaitley said while most states were in favour of giving a 2 per cent incentive if all payments are paid digitally or through cheques, some wanted a small negative list and so the issue will be referred to a five-member group of state finance ministers.

Another group of ministers (GoM) would look at the issue of levy of cess on sugar beyond the GST tax rates.

(With inputs from PTI)