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GST collections for April and May set to decline drastically

GST collections for April and May set to decline drastically

Goods and services tax (GST) collections are set to fall drastically in April and May with the number of electronic permits or e-way bills generated for transporting goods decreasing by close to 30% in March and by more than 80% in April sequentially, reflecting a general contraction in economic activities, according to official data.

E-way bills are required for transporting goods worth more than ₹50,000 within and across states. These enable officials to keep a tab on transactions without physically interfering with goods movement.

Businesses had generated only 6.7 million e-way bills from 1 to 27 April, against the 40.6 million generated in March, according to data available from GST Network (GSTN), the company that processes tax returns.

The estimated more than 83% fall in e-way bills generated in April is set to have a telling effect on the GST revenue to be collected in May, which is slated to be repo-rted on 1 June.

Businesses have time till the 20th of a month to pay taxes for transactions in the previous month. As such, May revenue is set to reflect the full impact of the drop in economic activities because of the lockdown.

Signs of the impact the lockdown had on March sales are also expected to be visible in the GST collections being made in April. This will get reported on 1 May.

The 40 million e-way bills generated in March reflect a 28.9% drop from the over 57 million e-way bills generated in February. One major reason is that the World Health Organization declared covid-19 a pandemic on 11 March.
In the April-March period of FY20, GST revenue collection grew by 3.8% to ₹12.2 trillion from the year-ago period.

Source: Money-Control

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Covid-19: Govt extends e-way bill validity, defers restricted ITC under GST

Covid-19: Govt extends e-way bill validity, defers restricted ITC under GST

The government on Friday extended the validity of e-way bills and deferred the application of restricted 10 per cent input tax credit under goods and services tax (GST) giving relief to the industry dealing with supply and cash flow issues amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) induced lockdown.

The validity of e-way bills that were set to expire between March 20 and April 15, has been extended till April 30 to help companies facing supply-related issues with orders stuck in transit in most cases.

“Where an e-way bill has been generated and its period of validity expires during the period 20th day of March, 2020 to 15th day of April, 2020, the validity period of such e-way bill shall be deemed to have been extended till the 30th day of April, 2020,” the finance ministry said in a notification issued late evening on Friday.

Under the GST regime, e-way bill has to be generated if goods worth over Rs 50,000 are transported. An e-way bill is valid for up to 24 hours for a distance of 100 km, depending on the size of the vehicle. However, if the vehicle does not cover 100 km within 24 hours, another bill has to be generated. For every 100 km travelled, the bill is valid for one additional day.

The central board of indirect taxes and customs (CBIC) also deferred the application of 10 per cent restriction for availing input tax credit for February, to August, and rolling over the cumulative applicability to the month of September this year. The seven-month window will ease industry’s working capital and cash flow.

In order to plug evasion, the GST Council in had in December restricted input tax credit to 10 per cent of the eligible amount for an entity if its supplier has not uploaded relevant invoices detailing the payments made. It was tightened from 20 per cent introduced in October.

The GST collections fell below the Rs 1-trillion mark in March after a gap of four months, although disruption caused due to coronavirus-induced lockdown will only get captured in the subsequent months.

Source: Business-Standard

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GST collection slips below Rs 1 trillion in March after four months

GST collection slips below Rs 1 trillion in March after four months

Goods and services tax (GST) collection fell below the Rs 1-trillion mark in March after a gap of four months, even as disruptions caused by the coronavirus-induced lockdown will get captured only in the coming months.
The numbers pertain to GST paid in February but collected in March, suggesting that collections might turn grimmer going forward.

The GST mop-up in March stood at Rs 97,597 crore, down 8.4 per cent on a year-on-year basis, the data released by the Ministry of Finance showed on Wednesday. The government had targeted a collection of Rs 1.25 trillion in March. GST collection grew by a meagre 3.7 per cent in the full fiscal year 2019-20.

The dismal collection in March is despite the stringent anti-evasion measures introduced by the government, including the blockage of e-way bill and restricting input tax credit to 10 per cent in the case of failure of invoice uploads by suppliers.

Already hit by an economic slowdown, the country went into a 21-day lockdown from March 24 to prevent the spread of Covid-19. All industries that were struggling have become non-operational, which will reflect in the April GST collection figures.

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac told Business Standard that the April numbers, which would essentially be transactions in March would only be about 15-20 per cent of the March figures.

Pratik Jain, partner, India, said, “It seems that many businesses may not have been able to pay GST because of liquidity issues being faced after the lockdown. As the second half of March 2020 has been significantly impacted due to the Covid-19 outbreak, collections in April are likely to be substantially lower.”

In a major relief for businesses facing lockdown due to coronavirus, the last date for GST return filing for March, April and May 2020 has been extended to June 30, with no interest, late fee and penalty, for companies with up to Rs 5 crore turnover and subsidised interest of 9 per cent, and no penalty or late fees for bigger companies.

M S Mani, partner, India, said it was necessary for businesses to conserve cash in order to enable resumption of operations once the lockdown ends. Hence, any deferral of the GST payment timelines by a few months would significantly assist them in this process, Mani said.

Central GST collection for FY20 at Rs 4.95 trillion fell Rs 18,188 crore short of revised estimates for the fiscal year. The finance ministry, in Union Budget 2020-21, had lowered the CGST collection target for FY20 to Rs 5.13 trillion from Rs 5.26 trillion estimated in July.

Of the Rs 97,597-crore revenue in March, the central GST collection stood at Rs 19,183 crore, state GST at Rs 25,601 crore and integrated GST at Rs 44,508 crore, which included Rs 18,056 crore collected on imports, the finance ministry said in a statement.

GST collection on domestic transactions witnessed an 8 per cent decline, while GST collection on imports posted a negative growth of (-)23 per cent, indicating the beginning of Covid-related supply and demand disruption.

In order to plug revenue leakages, the Council allowed blocking of input tax credit in the case of fraudulent invoices and blocking of e-way bills in the case of non-filing of returns for three straight months.

The Council in its meeting on March 14 deferred the new simplified returns and e-invoicing till October, which was to be launched from April 1. Meanwhile, in order to improve collections, the government is aiming to correct inverted duty structure. It raised the GST on mobile phones to 18 per cent from 12 per cent, bringing the rate on a par with the inputs.

Lower-than-expected revenues are also putting pressure on the Centre to compensate states for the revenue shortfall. The compensation cess collection stood at Rs 8,306 crore during the month, much smaller than the approximately Rs 14,000-15,000 crore compensation required by states on a monthly basis. States are up in arms with the Centre over a delay in payment of compensation dues and are planning to drag Centre to the Supreme Court.

Source: The-Business-Standard.

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GST authorities detect fraud of over Rs 214 cr

GST authorities detect fraud of over Rs 214 cr

An anti-evasion wing of Central-GST has detected a fraud of more than Rs 214 crore through fake invoices in Delhi, an official release said on Wednesday.

A person has been arrested and sent to judicial custody of 14 days, it added.

The fraud was detected by the anti-evasion wing of CGST Delhi South Commissionerate.

The alleged case of input tax credit fraud was taking place through fake invoices issued by bogus firms.

Investigations found the accused had also been generating bogus e-way bills to back the fake invoices, the finance ministry said in the statement.

“Over 35 entities are involved in the bogus transactions, involving fake invoicing to the tune of Rs 214.74 crore and tax evasion of Rs 38.05 crore,” it said.

Further investigations in the matter are in progress, the ministry said.

Source: Hindustan-Times

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New GST filing format, e-invoicing to help in ease of doing biz, reporting for taxes: GSTN CEO

New GST filing format, e-invoicing to help in ease of doing biz, reporting for taxes: GSTN CEO

GST Network CEO Prakash Kumar on Friday said e-invoicing and the new format for filing GST will help improve the ease of doing business and reporting for the indirect taxes.

“E-invoicing is a step towards improving ease of doing business and reporting for GST. Manual data entry leads to transcription errors and wrong entries,” Kumar said while addressing an event on ‘E-invoicing and New GST Return Format’ organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

There is a need for standard to ensure complete interoperability, he said. “The economies in the high-income group OECD are at the forefront of invoice digitisation,” he said. The GSTN CEO said that in India, the aim is to make digitisation part of business process of taxpayers and eliminate all manual reporting.

N K Gupta, chairman (indirect taxes committee) of PHD Chamber, said e-invoicing is the new system through which business-to-business (B2B) transactions are authenticated electronically by GSTN.

This is a major step towards the push for a digital economy, he said and lauded that GSTN is improving every day and GST is digitised to a great extent. Sanjay Aggarwal, senior vice-president of PHD Chamber, said e-invoice is the future means of electronic billing.

It has been adopted by many governments internationally. It has been implemented in a staggering manner over a period of time, initially launched for B2B and B2G (business-to-government), he added.

Source: Economic-Times

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Courier companies seek relief on GST E-way bill rule

Courier companies seek relief on GST E-way bill rule

Courier companies such as FedEx, DHL and UPS are in a bind over delivering imported goods to customers because of a goods and services tax rule that bars defaulters from issuing e-waybills. The document is mandatory for transport of goods worth over Rs 50,000.

On the other hand, the customs department won’t hold such goods in its storage once they’re cleared. The companies, including local ones such as DTDC, Safe Express, Gati and Delhivery, have petitioned the government to seek a way out of the dilemma. The government said it’s examining the issue.

GST Rule 138E, which took effect in November, doesn’t allow an entity that hasn’t filed returns for two straight months to generate an e-waybill.

While the rule won’t impact direct deliveries to ecommerce customers, business-to-business (B2B) orders from overseas will likely get hit.

Import consignments of companies, which may have missed filing returns and are unable to generate an e-waybill, cannot be delivered. But the goods cannot be kept inside the customs premises once cleared.

“As per customs regulations, goods may not be retained in the customs premises post clearance,” Vijay Kumar, chief executive officer of the Express Industry Council of India lobby group. “But moving the goods outside the customs premises without e-waybill would result in noncompliance from a GST standpoint.”

Courier companies have no means of checking whether their customers are GST compliant. “The task itself would be monumental given the volume of transactions and number of clients,” Kumar said. “Tracking such compliances would lead to operational challenges… delay in delivery of goods and reduction in operational efficiency.”

Since courier companies get the goods cleared from customs on behalf of those that place the orders, under the end-to-end logistics model, they face the brunt of the rule, experts said.

“While GST was intended to simplify supply chains, logistics businesses have been facing a few challenges such as EWBs on import consignments, which need to be discussed, as this is a key ingredient in improving the ease of doing business,” said MS Mani, partner.

The government is examining the matter to see how it can be resolved, said a senior government official, adding, “States have some reservations on the issue.”

The official said one option would be for courier companies to seek a written undertaking from customers to the effect that they’re GST compliant. The issue will be taken up again with states, he said.

Source: Economic-Times

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What is E-invoicing under GST

What is E-invoicing under GST

What is E-invoicing?

E-invoicing refers to a method in which the entire B2B invoices that are generated by the accounting software, are electronically authenticated by GSTN (Goods and Service Tax Network) for any further use such as generating E-way bills, preparing returns, and the like. In fact, E-invoice does not involve generating or creating invoices from the common portal or the tax department; rather, it includes the submission of invoices already generated from the respective accounting software at the central GST portal.

However, the GST system fails to recognize the invoice formats generated by the different accounting/ billing software. In this scenario, there arises the need for a standard invoice format (schema) which could be easily uploaded on the GST portal. This standard schema needs to be followed by the entire accounting/ billing software in order to generate the JSON of every invoice in that format so as to make the uploading process on the GST portal easy. The E-invoice schema provided by the GST system has mandatory as well as non-mandatory fields which could be used by all types of businesses.

The E-invoice mechanism is likely to be rolled out in different phases starting from January 1st 2020, upon a voluntary basis. In the beginning, it will be applicable only for those taxpayers who are above a particular turnover or an invoice value, and also for volunteers. Later on, it will be implemented for the entire taxpayers in a step-by-step manner.

What are the Benefits of the E-invoicing System?

There are several benefits for implementing an E-invoicing system of which some are provided below:

  • It enables the automatic preparation of GST returns (ANX-1 and ANX-2)
  • It facilitates the system to match the input credit liability with the output tax, automatically
  • E-invoice could be generated for invoices, credit/debit notes, and other appropriate documents
  • E-invoicing can be further used for generating E-way bills by just providing  the details of the vehicle
  • It helps to decrease the issues concerned with input credit verification considerably, as the same data would be reported to the buyer as well as to the tax department
  • The invoices which are uploaded by the suppliers for the purpose of authentication would be shared automatically with the buyers for reconciliation
  • It offers complete information about the B2B invoices
  • It enables one-time reporting of the B2B invoice data that is generated by the supplier, which helps in minimizing the efforts of reporting in different formats (GSTR 1/E-way bills).

How to Create an E-invoice?

Generally, the taxpayers would be accountable for the generation of an E-invoice, and they need to report the same to the Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) as well for authentication, following which it generates a unique Invoice Reference Number (IRN) and digitally signs the E-invoice. Further, it also generates a QR code and returns the invoice to the vendor.

Given below are the different steps involved in E-invoicing:

Step 1: The vendor creates the invoice in his accounting/billing system. This invoice should conform to the standard E-invoice schema and must have the necessary parameters. The vendor’s software generates a JSON for every B2B invoice, which would be uploaded on the IRP portal

Step 2: In the next step, an Invoice Reference Number (IRN) is generated, which is optional. In fact, the vendor himself can generate this number which is based upon the particular algorithm

Step 3: In this step, the JSON of the E-invoice is uploaded into the IRP by the vendor. This can be uploaded directly into the IRP, or by way of GSPs (GST Suvidha Providers), or other third parties

Step 4: In this step, the IRP generates/validates the Hash of the uploaded JSON, if it is done by the vendor. Further, upon authentication of the same by the central registry of the GST system, the IRP adds its signature on the invoice data. The Hash thus computed by the IRP becomes the IRN (Invoice Reference Number) of the E-invoice. This number shall be unique for each invoice, and serves as the unique identity for the same for the whole financial year in the GST system

Step 5: In this step, the uploaded data is shared with the GST/E-way bill system

Step 6: In this step, the IRP returns the digitally-signed JSON with IRN to the vendor, along with a QR code. Further, the registered invoice would also be sent to the vendor as well as buyer on their respective mail ids as per what was mentioned in the invoice.

Summary:

In general, E-invoices are not generated by the GST portal; rather, those are generated by the accounting/billing system of the taxpayers. They will be uploaded into the GST ANX-1, once they have been validated as well as registered by the invoice registration system. An E-invoice will be authenticated through the digital signature of the IRP. There are many benefits for the E-invoicing system including the auto-preparation of GST ANX-1 and ANX-2 returns, handling of input credit verification issues, and many more.

Late fee to be waived on GSTR-1 if filed by Jan 10, 2020

Late fee to be waived on GSTR-1 if filed by Jan 10, 2020

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) council has decided to waive off late fees for all taxpayers who have filed GSTR 1, if all refunds are filed by 10 January 2020.

In the 38th meeting of the GST Council on December 18, authorities had also waived of a late fee to be given all taxpayers in respect of all pending Form GSTR-1 from July 2017 to November 2019, if the same is filed by January 10th, 2020.

According to CBIC, the late fee waiver will be applicable only till 10 January 2020, beyond which a late fee of at least Rs 50 per day will be charged for non-filing of GSTR-1.

The late fine can also go up to a maximum of Rs 10,000 per statement as per existing provisions. The CBIC has also said that the government has planned to take a number of steps if the pending GSTR-1 is not filed by the 10th of next month, which may include steps such as blocking of the E-way bill, etc.

GSTR-1 is a monthly return that summarizes all sales (outward supplies) of a taxpayer. The due dates for GSTR-1 are based on turnover. Businesses with sales of up to Rs. 1.5 crore will file quarterly returns. Other taxpayers with sales above Rs. 1.5 crores have to file monthly return.

Source: KNN

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States seek real-time access to GST returns, e-way bills

States seek real-time access to GST returns, e-way bills

Certain states have sought real-time access to annual Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns and e-way bills in order to check tax evasion, which can potentially address the ongoing fund crunch and help compensate states for their revenue shortfall, two officials aware of the matter said requesting anonymity.

Currently, these data are stored in the GST Network, which compiles reports and sends them to all the states and Union territories with a time lag.

Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac confirmed the development and said,“Kerala may not require compensation cess at all if it is permitted to have real-time access to annual returns and e-way bills, so that tax evasion could be curbed,” Isaac said.

According to Isaac, ineffective tax collection is one of the three key reasons for tardy GST revenue collections across the country and real-time information would help many states nab evaders through the use of data analytics. The other two reasons, according to him, are the economic slowdown and steep cuts in GST rates.

“I will raise this issue in the GST Council,” he said. The GST Council is the apex decision-making body of the federal indirect tax structure that was rolled out on July 1, 2017. It is chaired by the Union finance minister and has finance ministers of states and Union territories as members.

Officials said states’ access to real-time data could be possible if they formally raised the issue at the council. Several states have been raising the issue of large-scale GST evasion at the council. In August last year, West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra estimated GST evasion at ₹1 lakh crore and demanded an exclusive meeting on the issue.

Owing to inadequate compensation cess funds, the Centre has not yet compensated states for their revenue shortfall over two months – October and November. Ideally, that should have been paid by the second week of December. Even in the past, there was a delay of about two months in paying compensation for August and September, which was paid just two days ahead of the 38th GST Council meeting on December 18, 2019.

An amount of ₹35,298 crore was released on December 16 to pay states for their dues in August and September. The GST law assures states 14% growth in their revenue for five years and the Centre is committed to meeting any shortfall in revenue through cess money, which is levied on luxury goods and sin products such as liquor, cigarettes and tobacco products.

The finance minister of another state, who did not wish to be named, said that there was scope for improvement in GST compliance but that would not be able to meet the entire revenue gap. Commenting on the proposal on real-time access to GSTN data, the minister said, “I doubt this will eliminate the revenue deficit. The ball is always in our court , provided those at the helm allow it to be dealt with efficiently.”

Experts said access to data would certainly help states in better compliance. Common access could be given to states through login IDs and passwords. Pratik Jain, partner and leader, indirect tax, said, “Logistically it should not be difficult.”

The Union government is making all-out efforts to plug revenue leakages of both central GST (CGST) and state GST (SGST). It will hold a national conference on January 7 to address the issue, the officials cited above said. This conference is being organised to curb fraud and evasion and check fake input-tax credits.

Source: Hindustan-Times

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e-invoicing under GST may be made mandatory in future, says GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar

e-invoicing under GST may be made mandatory in future, says GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar

GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar on Thursday said that e-invoicing under GST will remain on a voluntary basis initially, however, it could be made mandatory in future if the council feels the need of doing so.

“The council has given us the date of January 1st to deploy it on voluntary basis; the way we have done for e-way bill — it will be on a voluntary basis for some time and after that, it will be made mandatory whenever the council thinks of,” said Kumar in an interview with CNBC-TV18.

The goods and services tax (GST) collection has remained subdued in October as well. GST mop-up, according to sources, stands at Rs 93,000 crore, significantly lower than Rs 1 lakh crore in October 2018.

“The applications which were filed were around 3.5 crore and 1,500 have already been issued; the sanctions and refund have already taken place,” said Kumar.

“If there is deficiency, it is returned back and the taxpayer is supposed to add those papers and that is treated as a fresh application,” added Kumar.

On simplification front, Kumar said, “The most important one is the new return which will be launched on April 1. In fact, we have already launched the offline tool which is available also in the online version which people have already started using.”

“The advantage is that once they use it, they will be familiar with the new system which is different from what we have today,” added Kumar.

He further said that automation will help bring the burden down.

Source: CNBCTV 18

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