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No Input Tax Credit for GST paid on expenses incurred on promotional schemes, rules AAR

No Input Tax Credit for GST paid on expenses incurred on promotional schemes, rules AAR

Input Tax Credit (ITC) will not be available on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid on expenses incurred towards promotional schemes, an order by the Maharashtra Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) has said.

Although AAR rulings are applicable for the applicant and the jurisdictional tax officer in a particular matter, the same can be used a persuasive tool in similar matters. Accordingly, tax experts feel that the ruling can be important for automobile or FMCG companies which give gifts as a part of promotional schemes or as brand reminders.

Pharmaceutical company Sanofi India had approached AAR for rulings regarding two issues — whether input tax credit is available on the GST paid on expenses incurred towards promotional schemes of Shubh Labh Loyalty Program and whether input tax credit is available for the GST paid on expenses incurred towards promotional schemes given as brand reminders?

The company launched ‘Shubh Labh Trade Loyalty Program’ under which the distributors/wholesalers get reward points on the basis of goods sold by them. These points later enable them for rewards such as free trip to Singapore, wrist watch etc. Also, the company incurs various marketing and distribution expenses for distributing pens, notepads, key-chains etc. as promotional items/brand reminders to its distributors with its name embossed on such items.

Nature of ‘gift’
During the hearing, the applicant discussed the concept of ‘gift’ in light of the facts of the case and various judicial precedents under various other Statutes wherein it contended that as gift is a gratuity and act of generosity, the distribution of items by Sanofi for promoting the brand cannot be said to be an act of gratuity or generosity wherein the items are given to increase the sales of the company and advance of business. As regards the Shubh Labh Loyalty Program, the applicant submitted that the programme is not a gift but is given under contractual scheme (wherein the distributors are required to accept the terms & conditions on the Website).

However, in its response, the tax authority mentioned that the expenses under discussion incurred by the appellant are in the nature of ‘gift’ as “there is no commercial consideration and therefore input tax credit (‘ITC’) in respect of such expenses is restricted by virtue of GST law.”

The AAR held that since the items are not given by the applicant under any contractual obligation as no contract/agreement has been signed by customers in writing accepting the scheme floated by the applicant. Considering that the items are voluntarily, given on certain conditions achieved by its customers and without consideration in money, these are in the nature of ‘gift’. This means no ITC will be available.

According to Harpreet Singh, Partner at KPMG, in this case it has been held that items were not given by the applicant under any contractual obligation as no contract/agreement was signed by customers in writing accepting the scheme floated by the applicant. Accordingly, they partake the character of a gift. Therefore, “as a corollary, can one say that where scheme of giving promotional items is well documented and is as per a contractual arrangement, the same would be acceptable to authorities as a business expense not requiring any credit reversal,” he said.

Source: The-Hindu-Business-Line

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Companies get notices for seeking input tax credit on GST paid by their vendors

Companies get notices for seeking input tax credit on GST paid by their vendors

Many companies are reportedly under the scanner of the tax department with authorities beginning to quiz input tax credit claimed by firms in lieu of Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid by their vendors.

Tax sleuths have issued notices to companies in several states, including Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Haryana, confirming apprehensions that inspection will intensify in the new financial year as the government looks to plug the leaks, says an Economic Times report.

It may be noted that the GST rule allows a reversal of input tax credit claimed by a company if its vendor has not paid the tax for which credit is being claimed. At present, there is no procedure to determine if vendors have paid GST. The return-filing status of a registered person can only be viewed on the GST Network Portal, but payment of tax cannot be determined. Buyers can only validate whether vendors have included the invoice in their GST filings, the report mentioned.

A company may have actually passed on the tax to a vendor for which it wants to claim credit, it may not be possible to determine if the vendor has deposited the GST. “In such a situation, requiring the buyers to forgo their input credits when they have already paid the GST to vendors and exercised due diligence to the extent possible does not seem like a fair proposition,” Pratik Jain, national leader indirect tax at PwC, told ET.

Given the stakes involved, the issue may result in litigation, he mentioned, adding that the government should review the law and modify if they consider deem it appropriate, and there should be some clarity provided to the taxpayers as to how the government expects them to confirm that vendors have indeed paid tax.

The financial daily quoted M S Mani, a partner at Deloitte India, as saying, “Adequate safeguards to check misuse of the facility such as a time limit to complete the pending compliance/reconciliation can also be prescribed to protect revenue.”

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Source: Times Now News.
GST Council recalls rule that raised tax outgo of large companies

GST Council recalls rule that raised tax outgo of large companies

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has recalled the limits placed on companies from February this year on settling their tax liability with credits for taxes paid previously on raw materials and services. The move comes after businesses said the restrictions had led to an increase in their tax outgo.

In a clarification issued to field officers on Tuesday, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has granted full flexibility to businesses in using the credits for taxes paid on inter-state transactions (integrated GST or IGST) in settling the liability towards GST payable to the Union or state governments. The limitations introduced from February had forced companies to use IGST credits in a certain order that limited their ability to manage their final tax outgo with the tax credits available on the ledger. This, companies have said, led to increased cash outgo in certain scenarios to meet their tax liability while unused tax credits remained on their books.

The CBEC clarification explained that credits from paying taxes on interstate transactions (for raw materials and services) can be used for setting off the GST liability to the central or state governments in any order or in any proportion. The only rider is that if finished goods move across state borders, the IGST credit should first be utilized for settling that liability and the surplus could be used for meeting the tax liability towards central or state GST.

The GST Council introduced the restrictions in February as IGST credit remaining on records was going up, which the tax authorities wanted companies to use up. Experts said the latest clarification offered relief to companies. “This was a much-needed clarification, as this should help bring to rest the varied interpretation apprehended by industry experts on the utilization of IGST credit,” said Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY.

The restrictions on use of tax credits was affecting big companies as they have large value chain across states and have large amounts of input tax credits on their ledger on account of transactions across state borders. The flexibility to use credits from inter-state transactions is a relief for businesses as it is more fungible and can be utilized for meeting tax liability. On the other hand, credits from CGST and SGST payment cannot be cross-utilised.

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Source: Live Mint.
Circular trading & GST evasion charges: Taxman may have to review arrest strategy

Circular trading & GST evasion charges: Taxman may have to review arrest strategy

The indirect tax department that had arrested many promoters for circular trading and escaping goods and services tax may have to rethink its strategy after the Mumbai High Court granted bail to many of them.

The arrests came after the indirect tax department issued notices in February this year and raided premises of several companies for allegedly inflating turnover through fake invoices to shell companies.

People close to the development said that several promoters then approached the criminal bench of the Bombay High Court which granted them bail and sought an explanation from the department. Bail was granted to different people in the past few weeks.

Some industry observers suspect that circular trading may be used to inflate turnover or for bringing in black money to system. Tax experts, however, pointed out that this doesn’t necessarily mean tax evasion and that some genuine businesses are facing trouble on this count.

“We have argued that the entire issue is based on the department’s assumption that the supply of goods should result in movement of goods,” said Abhishek A Rastogi, partner at law firm Khaitan & Co, who represented some promoters in their bail pleas. “The legal principle of revenue neutrality comes into play. In case there is no loss of revenue, the proceedings cannot be non-bailable and cognisable.”

Legal experts said the taxman had upped the ante by arresting promoters in the last few months.

“The GST officers have suo moto converted enquiries into criminal cases by arresting the promoters, which was seldom done under the earlier tax framework,” said Sujay N Kantawala, a high court advocate.


“This is clearly premature as determination of actual tax liability exercise is not carried out prior to arrest. This amounts to clear contempt of binding judgements,” he said.

ET had first reported on March 6 that indirect tax officials had started arresting promoters
following raids and suspecting circular trade.

People close to the development said some sectors tend to get involved in circular trading but it doesn’t necessarily mean there is tax evasion.

A person familiar with the development cited the example of a Mumbai company that is into trading of plastic goods. The said company sold goods to a company based in Pune, which sold the same goods to another company based in Bengaluru. Now, the third company sold the goods to the first, the Mumbai-based firm. All this while, the goods were kept safe at a godown in Mumbai and GST credits were paid on every lap of transaction. The series of sales helped the firms inflate turnover and avail larger valuations and loans, the person said.


Meanwhile, a battery of lawyers are looking at challenging a particular section of the GST law that gives arresting powers to the taxman, people in the know said. A separate petition in this regard could be filed in the coming weeks, they said.

The indirect tax department started issuing notices to several companies in the past few weeks, seeking evidence of all the purchase and sale transactions including the invoices. The department suspects that several companies are merely buying fake bills that help them claim input tax credit and actual buying and selling of goods is not taking place.

Input tax credit is a mechanism whereby a company can set off the GST paid by them on purchases against future tax liabilities. Industry trackers said that in many cases the promoters of such companies had landed in jail.

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Source: Economic Times.
Tax authorities to levy interest on cash, ITC component of GST paid after due date

Tax authorities to levy interest on cash, ITC component of GST paid after due date

Officials to conduct due verification of all cases of late filing of returns
Tax authorities have made it clear that interest will be levied on both cash and input tax credit (ITC) component of GST paid after the prescribed due date.

Although the standing order has been issued by the Principal Commissioner of Hyderabad GST Commissionerate, experts say the same will be applicable for all the regions as it draws an inference from C-GST (Central Goods & Services Tax)/S-GST (State Goods & Services Tax) Act. The order also made it clear that recovery of such interest will be recoverable arrears.

It has also asked the officials to conduct due verification of all the cases of late filing of returns (which obviously involve payment of self-assessed tax after the prescribed due date) and ensure that the interest liability is paid not only on the cash component but also on the credit component.

The order also says that in case the interest was not discharged by any taxpayer, the concerned officer(s) should initiate prompt action for recovery of the same. It also states that a register will be maintained, in the divisions, in order to keep track of the cases and will be updated on a regular basis with proper abstract; and the unpaid interest amount shall be pursued for recovery by treating the same as recoverable arrears.

The order has recorded some irregularities like interest liability not being discharged by some taxpayers. It is possible that some taxpayers are discharging such interest liability, either at the instance of the officers of the department or on their own as convenient to them while filing subsequent returns. It is also possible that some taxpayers are paying such interest only on the cash component of the tax, but not on the ITC component.

On priority
“These irregularities are against the provisions of the GST law and need to be addressed on priority. In fact, the delay in payment of interest is a clear case of financial accommodation; and is absolutely against the interest of the revenue,” the order read while calling for prompt action to recover interest.

The law says, “Every person who is liable to pay tax in accordance with the provisions of this Act or the rules made there under, but fails to pay the tax or any part thereof to the government within the period prescribed, shall, for the period for which the tax or any part thereof remains unpaid, pay, on his own, interest at such rate, not exceeding eighteen per cent., as may be notified by the government on the recommendations of the Council.” The provision is the base of this order.

Augmenting revenue
Commenting on the order, Anita Rastogi, Indirect Tax Partner at PwC, said in order to ensure revenue augmentation, the government is focusing on available data to figure out areas where the taxpayers have short paid. “Interesting they have noticed evasion of interest and that will be an area of further investigation,” she said.

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Source: The Hindu Business Line.
Tax officials may examine high usage of ITC to set off GST liability

Tax officials may examine high usage of ITC to set off GST liability

Concerned over a decline in GST revenues, tax officials are likely to examine the high usage of an input tax credit set off tax liability by businesses, sources said.

The issue of high ITC was flagged at the meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) which was set up by the GST Council to look into the reasons for revenue shortfall being faced by a large number of states.

According to sources, availing ITC ideally should not result in loss of revenue but there could be a possibility of misuse of the provision by unscrupulous businesses by generating fake invoices just to claim a tax credit.

During the meeting of the GoM, it was pointed out that as much as 80 percent of the total GST liability is being settled by ITC and only 20 percent is deposited as cash.

GST revenue has averaged around Rs 96,000 crore per month so far this fiscal and this reflects the cash component being deposited by businesses.

Under the present dispensation, there is no provision for real-time matching of ITC claims with the taxes already paid by suppliers of inputs.

The matching is done on the basis of system generated GSTR-2A after the credit has been claimed. Based on the mismatch highlighted by GSTR-2A and ITC claims, the revenue department sends notices to businesses.

“Currently there is a time gap between ITC claim and matching them with the taxes paid by suppliers. Hence there is a possibility of ITC being claimed on the basis of fake invoices,” a source said.

Once the new return filing system becomes operational, it would become possible for the department to match the ITC claims and taxes paid on a real-time basis.

The revenue department would now analyze the large number of ITC claims to find out if they are genuine or based on fake invoices and take corrective action, sources said.

GST collection stood at Rs 1.03 lakh crore in April, Rs 94,016 crore in May, Rs 95,610 crore in June, Rs 96,483 crore in July, Rs 93,960 crore in August, Rs 94,442 crore in September, Rs 1,00,710 crore in October, Rs 97,637 crore in November and Rs 94,726 crore in December 2018.

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Source: Economic Times.
GST returns non-filers grow faster than tax base

GST returns non-filers grow faster than tax base

The number of tax filers failing to file their returns has been increasing in the 17 months of GST implementation until November 2018, according to an answer submitted by the Finance Ministry in the Lok Sabha.


While the number of people required to file monthly returns has grown 32% from July 2017 to about 98.5 lakh in November 2018, the number of people not filing these returns has grown 167% during that time, the latest Goods and Services Tax filing data showed.

The data also shows that this is not just the case for monthly filers, but also for those under the composition scheme, which allows for quarterly return filing.

While the number of people required to file quarterly returns increased about 55% from July 2017 to 17.74 lakh in November 2018, the number of people who have not filed returns increased about 162% during this period.

In other words, the number of people failing to file returns has grown faster than the tax base itself for both regular and composition filers.

Tax analysts say the reasons are varied, including some taxpayers having too low a turnover, and others getting registered onto GST only due to the insistence of their large clients, and yet others simply daunted by the filing process.

“While the increase in the proportion of non-filers is a matter of concern, it must be borne in mind that several GST registrants may be having nil or low turnover and some others may have taken registration on their customers’ insistence,” M.S. Mani, a partner at Deloitte India, said. “Some of the initial challenges faced by smaller business on the GST portal may also have deterred some of them from attempting to file online returns.”

However, other tax analysts point towards a more serious situation where small businesses are systematically and fraudulently evading tax in the hope that they are too small for the taxman to notice.

“What happens is that a lot of small vendors get onto the system because their large clients force them because the client can avail of input tax credits only if their supplies are from a GST-registered vendor,” a tax analyst with a large consultancy told The Hindu on the condition of anonymity.

“However, these small vendors try to fly below the tax radar. They charge the GST rate on their supplies, but then keep this as their own profit margin instead of paying tax to the government.”

These vendors base these activities on the fact that the taxman will take 2-3 years to notice this activity since invoice matching is still not activated on the GST portal, the analyst added.

“By the time they are noticed, the vendor has already changed their name and GST number and is carrying on their business,” the analyst said.

‘Government loses’

“They have been doing this for 15 years under VAT and are simply transferring that practice to GST. The government loses because it has to pay ITC to the big corporate and doesn’t even get its tax revenue from the small vendors.”

Another analyst explained that, in reality, there are a relatively small number of taxpayers that fall below the ₹20 lakh threshold for filing returns.

“A ₹20 lakh income per year works out to about ₹5,500 a day,” the analyst explained. “Even your corner grocery store or Kirana store would do more business than this in a day. They just don’t file their returns because they are scared to draw the attention of the taxman.”

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Source: The Hindu
Not just lower taxes, evasion too a factor in the GST shortfall

Not just lower taxes, evasion too a factor in the GST shortfall

It’s fairly clear by now that goods and services tax (GST) collections are falling way short of the government’s initial expectations. The monthly run rate of collections until November was less than ₹90,000 crore, far lower than the monthly average of ₹1.05 trillion required to meet the annual target.

Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint

One reason, of course, is the downward revision of tax rates on various products. But another, and more worrying cause is widespread tax evasion despite measures such as e-way bills.

Shiv Pratap Shukla, minister of state for finance, provided data in Parliament on Friday that showed the percentage of eligible taxpayers who are not filing returns has risen sharply. A year ago, 84.4 million hadn’t filed returns; this has risen to a whopping 283.1 million.

“Our understanding is that people are still gaming the system and this has to do with input credit,” said an expert in indirect taxation, who did not want to be named.

“Basically these companies are claiming input credit by showing estimates of their sales in the GSTR-1 form, as you just have to give details of your sales in this form and not show the actual invoices based on which the input credit is being availed. Later, they avoid paying GST, as payment of taxes happens when you file the GSTR-3B form. So, in many cases, registrations are made, and initial GST payments are missed. By the time the tax authorities figure it out, many of them have deregistered or shut shop,” he added.

The data presented by Shukla showed that until December, 499 cases of fake invoices, which were used for claiming input tax credit worth ₹3,895 crore, were detected. In contrast, in the July 2017-March 2018 period, only four such cases had been detected, cumulatively worth ₹9.75 crore.

“Many companies, which have not been paying income tax, continue to remain outside the GST net as well. They have simply decided to not get registered,” said another tax expert requesting anonymity. “Frankly, the government doesn’t have the bandwidth to detect all such cases, ” added the tax expert.

The dice seems loaded against the government, which also may not want to be seen as being too tough on small businesses ahead of the general elections.

Leakages are especially high in industries where the market share of unorganized companies is high.

Analysts at JM Financial Institutional Equities recently visited Haryana’s Yamunanagar, a region where 550-600 plywood manufacturing units are located. According to their interactions, while invoicing levels have increased, e-way bill implementation is still not strict at most places and companies are able to get away with under-invoicing, it said in a report on 12 December.

“Reconciliation of GSTR-1 and e-way bills generated by taxpayers need to be implemented at the earliest for e-way bills to be a more effective anti-evasion measure,” says Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY.

After the implementation of e-way bills in April 2018, revenues were expected to rise. It was expected that lower effective taxes, along with increased compliance, would accelerate formalization, and organized businesses would gain share and tax collections would surge. But it seems the mechanism has failed to yield the desired results so far.

“The government is committed to increase the percentage of compliance by taxpayers under GST,” Shukla told Parliament. “In this regard, an extensive outreach programme has been carried out across the country to create awareness among traders, industry bodies and other stakeholders. Further, effective enforcement measures are being undertaken to check cases of tax evasion and fake invoices.” It’s another matter that the numbers he provided don’t hint at any reduction in evasion.

In fact, the way things stand, shoring up GST revenue collections meaningfully could be a long row to hoe.

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Source: Live Mint


Another round of GST rate cuts? Council to meet on January 10

Another round of GST rate cuts? Council to meet on January 10

The GST Council, set to meet on January 10, will decide on bringing under-construction residential properties to 5 percent slab, raising the threshold limit for MSMEs and bringing small service suppliers under the composition scheme.

There are heightened expectations that the Council could decide another round of rate cuts including on products like cement with the industry arguing that the product is a critical construction material and needs to be taxed at a lower 18 percent from the current 28 percent.

“The GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council will meet on January 10 in New Delhi,” said a government official.

In the last meeting on December 22, Jaitley had said that based on the report of the fitment and law committee, Council will decide on GST rate of residential properties, which is currently taxed at 12 percent, with a provision for claiming an input tax credit (ITC).

Currently, homebuyers of real estate properties do not have to pay GST if they purchase a ready-to-move-in property after the issue of completion certificate as it considered as ‘transfer of property’ and comes under state’s jurisdiction of stamp duty.

This generally makes the under-construction property costlier for the buyers.

Jaitley had also said in the next meeting in January, the Council will look at the report submitted by the group of ministers (GoM) headed by MoS Shiv Pratap Shukla on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“One of the proposals is on (increasing) the threshold limit of Rs 20 lakh (annual turnover). Should it be status quo or do we need to alter it,” he said.

Currently, businesses below annual turnover of Rs 20 lakh are exempted from paying GST. The proposal is to increase to increase this threshold for MSMEs.

The Council will also bring small service suppliers under the composition scheme—an alternate method of taxation that allows small businesses with annual turnover up to Rs 1 crore to pay tax at a concessional rate as well as reduce the compliance cost.

An eligible dealer, mainly traders, manufacturers, and restaurants, can pay tax at a prescribed percentage of the business’ turnover every quarter, instead of paying tax at normal rate. However, they are not allowed to claim ITC.

“A composition scheme will be framed for small service suppliers. Threshold and composition charge will be decided by law and fitment committee,” Jaitley had said.

Besides, the GoM on ‘Modalities for Revenue Mobilisation in case of Natural Calamities and Disasters’ headed by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, will present its report to the Council next week.

The GoM was set up in line with what the Kerala government had asked after the devastating floods swept through the southern state in August, leading to severe loss of life and property. The panel is expected to devise a mechanism to raise additional funds to help states if they are affected by natural calamities.

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Source: Money Control
GST Annual Return And Audit: Complexities Galore

GST Annual Return And Audit: Complexities Galore

In less than 30 days from now, over 1.15 crore taxpayers will have to file the Goods and Services annual return and audit forms. Made available by the government in September this year, the forms require businesses to not only consolidate information that they have been filing in monthly returns but also reconcile it. Both the forms are fraught with complexities and given that many companies have only now engaged auditors, it would be near impossible to meet the Dec. 31 deadline, experts told BloombergQuint.

GST Annual Return: Surprises

The annual return Form 9 is essentially consolidation of information that taxpayers have been filing via summary return Form 3B and outward supplies Form GSTR 1. It requires consolidation of outward and inward supplies, input tax credit, tax paid, GST demands and refunds.

There are two key areas of concerns in Form 9: requirement of HSN Code for input side and bifurcation of input tax credit or ITC.

The HSN Code Problem:

HSN codes are prescribed by the government to classify goods and services. So far, a buyer while filing Form 3B and GSTR 1 didn’t have to mention the HSN codes of the inputs—i.e. goods bought from a vendor. But the annual return form requires them to do this classification. This is new information altogether that needs to be given and companies’ ERP systems are not geared to give input classifications, Jigar Doshi, an indirect tax partner at SKP Business Consulting, pointed out.

Ritesh Kanodia, a partner at Dhruva Advisors questioned the need for this data.

“The liability for a taxpayer arises only on account of HSN of goods and services he sells and their rate of tax. The HSN of the vendor is not his liability. He merely takes credit for what he has paid for the inputs. He is not going to get into the debate of what is the HSN of the inputs, the rate of tax on them, etc.”

Ritesh Kanodia, Partner, Dhruva Advisors

So there is no need for him to get into the HSN for inputs and many companies won’t even have this data, he said.

ITC Bifurcation Problem: 

The annual return requires a three-way split of ITC availed into inputs, input services, and capital goods credits, Doshi said. But in the reporting so far, there was no concept of ITC bifurcation, Kanodia added. He explained the issue by way of an illustration—let’s say, we purchase some machinery. That is a fixed asset. So the credit has been taken as capital goods. If I purchase some inputs, credit has been taken as that and similarly for input services. What has been reported in Form 3B so far is the total figure.

“This data is not appearing anywhere else. Credit is available to me, I can consume that credit. Capital goods—I can understand—because there are certain rules around capital goods. But why do I need this bifurcation for input and input service?”

Ritesh Kanodia, Partner, Dhruva Advisors

That’s another layer of complication which has been added in the annual return form, he said.

GST Audit: Complexities

The complexities in the annual return form pale in comparison to what the audit process entails, both the experts pointed out.

Divided in two parts, the GST Audit Form 9C needs to be filed by a taxpayer who has an aggregate annual turnover exceeding Rs 2 crore. It requires companies to reconcile turnover declared in the financial statement and annual return, tax liability and tax paid, input tax credit availed and reported. Any liability arising out of non-reconciliation also needs to be specified.

This form is trying to dissect the entire financial statement—P&L and balance sheet— and compare the numbers on the outward-inward side and the tax-paid side with the annual return numbers which have been disclosed, Doshi said.

The objective is to assess whether you’ve paid GST on transactions recorded in the books of accounts and, if not, then the explanation for it needs to be provided, Kanodia said. “Similarly, on the credit side, whatever credits you have taken, there is an entry in the books of accounts. That needs to be reconciled with the annual return. So, reconciling rupee to rupee with the books of account is the objective of this exercise,” he added.

And the complexities are many:

Unclear Time Period: The filing threshold is based on gross turnover in a financial year, Kanodia said, but GST came in July. “You have lot of adjustments which happen in any financial accounting—for instance, unbilled revenue. Do I consider the beginning of the financial year or the beginning of July? There are lot of adjustments which need to be seen,” he added.

State-Wise Audit: Doshi explained that GST Identification Number is the basis for the audit. If a taxpayer has branches in five states and each has a separate GSTIN, then five audits need to be done. This would require GSTIN-level bifurcation of audited financial statements which most companies do not maintain, he said.

Reconciliation Issues: GSTR 1, which is filed at the state level, will need to be reconciled with the income and sales ledger at the company P&L level which is not available state-wise and it’s likely that the consolidated figure of different states’ GSTR 1 may not match with the annual P&L, Kanodia explained. This could be due to accrual entries, IND-AS, out-of-scope GST supplies, etc, he added.

“This may entail a line-item level analysis to find out unreconciled line items and ascertain reasons of such mismatch, which is time consuming. Availability of data in the right format is critical to carry out such reconciliations.”

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Source: Bloomberg Quint