The pace of filing goods and services tax (GST) returns under sales, or GSTR1, nosedived on Saturday evening, when the Council in the meeting in Hyderabad decided to give businesses another month till October 10 to do so.
About less than half the expected returns in July had been filed by the earlier deadline of Sunday. The traffic on the GST Network (GSTN) portal on Saturday declined significantly from 80,000 users an hour to just 17,000 after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the extension.
As of Tuesday, about 2.8 million GSTR1 returns were filed. This is out of the 5.95 million registered taxpayers for July.
“The pace of filing was robust till the announcement of the extension. It was a steep decline from that hour. This speaks a lot about the mentality to defer things till the last day,” said a government official.
The deadline for filing purchase return, or GSTR-2 and GSTR-3, which is match of GSTR-1 and GSTR-2 for July, has been extended to October 31 and November 10 from September 25 and September 30, respectively.
Jaitley had said that the decision to extend the filing date had been taken after the GSTN portal was overloaded twice or thrice.
In the case of GSTR 3B, the summarised return, 74 per cent or 4.4 million have been filed. The government received Rs 95,000 crore in revenues for July so far.
At the Business Standard GST Round Table earlier this month, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had pointed out that there was a tendency among people to postpone work till the last day.
“The problem is too many people try to file returns on the last date, despite an extension. You should be filing returns on time. My suggestion is, do not panic. Do not wait for the last day,” he had said.
Traders have been reporting issues related to invoice matching, claiming transition credits via Tran1 form, errors in making final submission, uploading returns, and invoices among others.
The summarised return filing, GSTR 3B, which was earlier for two months — July and August — has been extended by four months till December.
A ministerial-level committee will be constituted to oversee technical and operational issues pertaining to the GSTN.
The panel will comprise three to five state finance ministers to look at traders’ concerns. The issues faced by companies include the slow response of the GSTN portal, intermittent accessibility of the portal, and errors popping up.
The companies say in some cases, after uploading files, the portal takes a few hours to process them. Besides, in the case of uploading invoices containing multiple tax rates, in many cases the system considers only the last line item in the offline tool.
There are error messages in the case of sales made to special economic zones.The Council also reopened the composition scheme till September 30, which offers a flat tax rate besides easier compliance.