Every registered entity is required to file annual return for goods and services tax (GST) by December of the next year. Since the form was not ready in time, the original due date of December 2018 is now extended up to 30 June 2019.
Registered persons, with more than Rs2 crore turnover, have to file GST reconciliation statement and certification (GSTR 9C) as well as annual returns or GSTR9 and audited financial statements. GSTR 9C is required to be certified by a chartered accountant (CA).
GST annual returns or (GSTR9) is a summary of details already reported in GSTR1 (sales returns) and GSTR3B (monthly/ quarterly), i.e., summary of sales and purchases along with tax payments. This, in theory, looks very simple as one-nation-one-tax GST; but when we try to actually fill the returns, there are multiple issues for which no clarifications are available or there are different interpretations by professionals. A few examples are given below:
1. In GSTR9, adjustments or amendments up to September 2018 are asked to be reported. However, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has already extended this date up to March 2019. Consequent changes in the form are yet to be made.
2. Table 4 of GSTR9 asks for details of advances, inward and outward supplies made during the financial year on which tax is payable. This data is auto-populated as per GSTR1 filed. However, if some sales are not reported in GSTR1 but tax is already paid through GSTR3B then where to report it is not clarified.
3. The FAQs on this matter issued by CBIC read as under:
“In Form GSTR-9, can additional liability not reported earlier in Form GSTR-3B be declared? Yes, additional liability not reported earlier at the time of filing Form GSTR-3B can be declared in Form GSTR-9. The additional liability so declared in Form GSTR-3B is required to be paid through Form GST DRC-03.”
First of all, it should be GSTR9 and not GSTR3B in line 3. Further, it just information NOT info known but does not say which table and where to declare this liability.
4. Input reversals done in GSTR3B are shown as utilisation of input tax credit (ITC) in auto-populated table 9. Further, this field in not editable.
5. Headings of table 11 and 12 say that “Details of the previous financial year's transactions reported in next financial year” are to be shown there. However, there is difference in language used in the help file and line item. The help file says, “Particulars for the previous FY transactions declared in returns of April to September of next FY or up to date of filing of annual returns for 2017-18, whichever is earlier.” Whereas individual line item for table 11 and 12 talks only about GSTR1. Now there is confusion as to whether changes made in GSTR3B in the next financial year can be reported here. There is no other table to report these changes either.
6. For those who are not supposed to file audit report in 9C, there is confusion about whether GSTR9 should be based only on returns filed or books of accounts. There is no mention of books of accounts anywhere in GSTR9 frequently asked questions (FAQs).
7. On tax paid on reverse-charge basis, in subsequent financial year through GSTR3B, where does one report in GSTR9? There are no final answers to this. If reported along with normal turnover, it will not match with books of accounts.
8. Table 7 of GSTR9 says, ITC reversed for the financial year is to be disclosed. However, it does not specify in which returns. If reversed during 2018-19 for 2017-18 then it may lead to double reduction while filing next year’s GSTR9.
9. Table 8 of GSTR9 about ITC related information has no column for IGST on import paid but goods still in bonded warehouse, hence credit not taken. Many persons have not taken this credit till goods are cleared. If we follow as per GSTR9 schema, this credit will lapse.
10. The harmonised system of nomenclature (HSN) wise summary of inward supplies where 10% or more of total inward supply is to be given. However, if the supplier has not provided the exact HSN code, it would be very difficult for the taxpayer to now search for it.
These are some of the issues that taxpayers are facing while filing GSTR9 annual return. There are many such issues in GSTR9C audit report form as well. The main issue is that the government has been very slow in giving clarifications and, since returns filed cannot be revised, people are waiting till the last date to file. We all know what happens to GSTN in the last few days of any due date.
(CA Nikhil Vadia has over 20 years of experience in direct and indirect taxation, internal audit, systems review and management consultancy.)