The dead line for filing summarized interim return (GSTR 3B) for all GST registered taxpayers is on 20th August. But it seems there is a big challenge to achieve this target for a majority of registered GST taxpayers.
Only a very small number of taxpayers – which is about 16,000 – have filed their returns as on 16th August, 2017. Imagine the remaining numbers still left out – from a total of about 87 lakh taxpayers who have got themselves registered under GST of as of now.
In fact, there are a number of uncertainties that a taxpayer has to deal with in his return filing process.
Sources say that GSTN has delayed the delivery of application programming interfaces (APIs) for summarized interim returns which is the “GSTR 3B” to the GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs). This will necessitate taxpayers to file their returns directly on the GSTN portal thus putting a heavy load on the portal in the last moment which can even lead to crashing of its servers.
GSP’s i.e. the GST Suvidha Providers are selected IT companies which have been provided with API’s by the GSTN for accessing their servers to build customized solutions for different needs of the assessees, including filing of tax returns.
GSP’s have implied that there have been delays in the delivery of API’s on the part of GSTN thus making it impossible to update their software for uploading returns of their users. This scenario has effectively put the GSTN system under immense strain as all filings will have to be performed at its portal.
GSTN officials have been countering the statements of GSP’s regarding API’s stating that not all of the GSP’s are fully prepared themselves to connect with the GSTN portal. Further they claim that the uploading of invoices and filing of returns through GSPs has been quite slow indicating the lack of their preparedness.
Besides the problem of filing of returns, things could get even more complicated as over 30% of the firms registered on GSTN have still not completed the second part of the application form required to complete the process of their registration. This will be a major hurdle to complete the process of filing returns as these businesses would be prevented from filing their returns.
Let us hope that these are just the initial hiccups that we find in any process set in place and they are likely to be addressed and resolved at the earliest. One can always look at the scale of the process and then look at these issues – leading to a different perspective and see that they are minor problems faced in the process of setting a huge system in place.
Once these teething problems are smoothened out it is expected that this major tax reform will result in better tax compliance and easier tax administration.