Need for extension of GSTR-9 due date for financial year 2017-2018

As the due date for filing GSTR-9, 9A, and 9C approaching near, few associations and professional bodies are submitting representation letters to the Finance Ministry requesting for due date extension.

The associations and professional bodies which are requesting due date extension include Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), The Institute of Cost Accountants of India, and Karnataka State Chartered Accountants Association. Most of them have requested for an extension up to 30 November 2019.

In their request letters, they are raising various complexities involved in filing form GSTR-9, 9A and 9C and some of the issues are errors while generating JSON files, difficulties in input tax credit reconciliation, errors while signing with digital signatures, hanging of GST website.

It is to be noted that, in a letter to all Principal Chief Commissioners and Chief Commissioners, CBIC Chairman Mr Pranab K Das mentioned that up to the 3rd of August 2019, only 14 lakh GSTR-9 returns have been filed and more than 1 crore taxpayers still have to file their GSTR-9. Similarly, only 11 thousand GSTR-9C returns have been filed and around 12 lakh taxpayers still have to get their accounts audited and file GSTR-9C.

The CBIC chief also requested to conduct outreach programmes to resolve hardship faced by taxpayers at Commssionerate level as well as Division Level. Now the department officials are conducting outreach programmes and this will take enough time to reach out to the taxpayers.

When asked for his perceptive opinion on a possible extension, Mr Praveen Khandelwal, the National Secretary-General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) was positive about the extension being granted. He stated, “GSTR-9 is designed in a complicated manner. It requires various elements not earlier informed to traders while filing the regular returns. Accordingly, these aspects did not find a place in the accounting software developed by them. It now poses practical difficulty for the trade to make the declarations in a candid manner.”

Also Read: CBIC Announces Extension for GSTR-3B Filing for July 2019

He further added that efforts must be made to simplify GSTR-9 so that every trader despite staying in a village and having limited access to technology must be able to file easily.

ClearTax Chronicles asked for his view on the effect of GSTR-9 extension on new GST return compliance. He mentioned that with the passage of three years, the GST fundamentals and compliance obligations still need to be sorted before moving on. Following this, a national-level campaign is needed to educate traders to voluntarily comply and help increase the tax base.

Even the taxpayers, professionals and consultants are continuously striving to reconcile GST returns with books of accounts for the purpose of filing GST annual returns, It is not practical to expect 85% of GSTR-9 non-filers will file their returns within a very short time.

Hence it is important for the Government to consider the request of concerned stakeholders. While associations and professional bodies are focusing on due date extension, there is a great need to request for simplification of significant complexities in GSTR-9.

There are some complexities and technical glitches faced by taxpayers while filing GSTR-9, which are not resolved by the Government even now. For example, the auto-populated figures of the table no:8A of GSTR-9 represents ITC as per GSTR-2A, but when it is compared with GSTR-2A summary which was provided in the portal, there is a mismatch which can not be reconciled, because these differences are within the GST portal itself.

The due date for filing GSTR-9 for FY 2017-18 was the 31st of December 2018. The due date was extended three times and the latest due date is the 31st of August 2019. Even now, the taxpayers finding greater difficulty in filing Form GSTR-9, hence the associations, professional bodies and consultants need to identify the significant complexities and raise a request for simplification of the same. This will ensure the smooth submission of GST annual returns by the taxpayers and it will lead to greater ease of compliance.

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