The government has announced a late fee waiver on the filing of goods and services tax (GST) returns for March and April, besides reducing interest rates on late payments, according to orders issued by the finance ministry on Saturday. The move is expected to provide some relief to businesses, which are required to report monthly transactions and pay GST by the end of the following month.
The Centre on the advice of the GST Council has also given additional time till May 31 to the tax authorities for completing statutory proceedings, which would otherwise have to be settled between April 15 and May 30. Taxpayers also get extra time to file relevant documents and appeals.
According to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, businesses with up to Rs.5 crore in sales will have no interest liability for late payments for March and April, for 15 days after the due date. For the following fortnight, they will have to pay 9 per cent annual interest, before the usual 18 per cent rate kicks in. Small businesses filing quarterly or monthly returns will also get the same benefits for the two months.
The Centre has also waved off late fee charges for the monthly summary returns to be filed for transactions in March and April. While businesses with up to Rs.5 crore in sales will get late fee waiver for a month from the due date, larger businesses will have a 15-day window, according to the orders. States will also be issuing corresponding orders. Late fee waiver for small businesses, which file quarterly returns, but pay taxes every month too have been given an additional 30-day window.
In view of the second wave, the Centre said tax authorities, commissions, tribunals, and consultants will get additional time till May 31 to pass orders and issue notices, or grant sanctions and approvals. This will apply to certain processes such as filing appeals under GST laws and sending replies, reports, documents, and records.