On 16 August (Friday), Mr Naresh Penumaka, the Chief Commissioner of Customs and CGST, Visakhapatnam Zone, addressed the media in Visakhapatnam. With the GST return filing due date for the financial year 2017-18 is fast approaching he warned taxpayers to file their GST returns within 31 August without fail. He also said that the taxpayers who fail to file their returns within the due date would face severe consequences.
The Chief Commissioner also mentioned that the due date had already been extended multiple times, and there is no probability of another extension. With just ten days left for the return filing deadline, 80% of taxpayers have still not filed their GST returns. He suggested traders get in touch with the concerned Central Excise officials for return filing assistance and hand-holding.
He also warned that the traders who do not pass on the GST benefits to customers, who indulge in claiming Input Tax Credit (ITC) in excess and utilise it as the working capital, or who do not remit GST which is collected via consumers might end up facing imprisonment charges. He emphasised every trader to issue a bill for collecting GST according to the reduction specified by the GST Council.
The Chief Commissioner was of the opinion that a few traders were intentionally making delays in making their payments. He refused to agree that the reason for the delay in filing returns was due to the cumbersome GST filing process.
He also added that at the national-level 90% compliance was seen and in few states, nearly 70% of the traders had already filed their GST returns.
Mr Naresh said that the Central Excise and Service Tax dues which are pending from the last two years need to be paid within two weeks. If taxpayers do not pay the pending dues, they will face imprisonment charges.
For Andhra Pradesh, the target for the current year was set as Rs 58,222 crore; however, so far only Rs 16,037 crore has been collected. Mr Naresh mentioned that for the previous year, the GST collection stood at Rs 50,000 crore. He urged the traders to file the returns on time and continue to pay taxes so that the GST collection improves.
He also urged the exporters as well as importers to utilise the trade facilitation measures which come under Customs. This is because, currently, only 51% of importers were utilising the Direct Port Entry; and 6 % of the exporters were using the Direct Port Entry schemes.