Govt provides GST relief for small taxpayers to offset COVID-19 impact

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The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Friday decided to waive off fees for late filing returns between July 2017 to January this year in a bid to minimise the impact of COVID-19 crisis on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Due to the countrywide lockdown stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of return filing has been pending and revenue collections have been depressed.

“For all those who have no tax liabilities but who have not filed their returns between July 2017 to January 2020 there will be zero late fees,” said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman after the 40th GST Council meeting held through video conference.

If there is a tax liability, the maximum late fee will be capped at Rs 500 per return. The reduced rate of late fee will apply for all the GSTR-3B returns furnished between July 1 to September 30 this year.

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Sitharaman said that for small taxpayers whose turnover is up to Rs 5 crore, for the supplies effected in the month of February, March and April 2020, the rate of interest for late furnishing of return for the said months beyond specified dates (staggered upto July 6) is reduced from 18 per cent to 9 per cent per annum till September 30.

In other words, for these months, small taxpayers will not be charged any interest till the notified dates for relief (staggered up to July 6) and thereafter 9 per cent interest will be charged till September 30.

To facilitate taxpayers who could not get their cancelled GST registrations restored in time, an opportunity is being provided for filing of an application for revocation of cancellation of registration up to September 30 in all cases where registrations have been cancelled till June 12.

According to an official statement, certain clauses of the Finance Act 2020 amending CGST Act 2017 and IGST Act 2017 will be brought into force from June 30.

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