An employee uses a calculator at the Professional Foreign Currency Exchange Ltd. (PFCE) store in Hong Kong, China. (Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg)

GST Council Meet On May 4; Simplifying Returns On The Agenda

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley-chaired Goods and Services Tax Council will meet on May 4 to discuss a simpler return form and the amendments required in the indirect tax regime rules.

The 27th meeting of the Council, comprising state finance ministers, will meet through video conferencing and will also mull over the proposal of converting GST Network into a government company.

A decision on return simplification could be on the cards with the Sushil Modi-led Group of Ministers putting the three models of new return form for discussion before the Council, an official said.

With Jaitley been advised by doctors to stay in isolation to avoid contracting infection, the meeting has been planned through video conferencing.

The Council had in March held discussions on the two models of GST returns and suggested that the Group of Ministers work on further simplification. The official said that the amendment to the law would also be taken up once the Council clears the new GST return format.

Also read: GST: No Decision Yet On Simplification Of Returns Filing Process

One of the models presented before the Council was that provisional credit should not be granted unless the taxpayers file returns and pay taxes. The second model stated that provisional credit can be granted to a taxpayer, but returns must be filed within three-four months. It added that taxes must be paid, else the credit amount would be reversed.

After consulting the stakeholders, the GoM earlier this month worked out a third model for return filing according to which credit could be extended once the invoice uploaded by the supplier is verified by the purchaser on the GSTN portal.

Jaitley had earlier this month asked Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia to “examine the possibility” of converting GSTN into a majority government company or a 100 percent government company. GSTN provides the IT backbone for the new indirect tax regime.

Currently, five private financial institutions—HDFC Ltd., HDFC Bank Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd., NSE Strategic Investment Co. and LIC Housing Finance Ltd.—hold 51 percent stake in GSTN, which was incorporated on March 28, 2013, in the erstwhile UPA regime.

The remaining 49 percent stake is with the Centre and States.

Also read: India’s GST Among The Most Complex, Has The Second Highest Tax Rate