Covid impact on MSMEs: Even as the government had earlier this month offered taxpayers a late fee waiver for filing GSTR-3B monthly returns for March and April and reduced interest rates for late payments, a majority of small businesses, startups, and traders are still seeking no penalty and interest relaxations on GST late payment and return filing till June 30, 2021. Small businesses have been urging for the deadline extension for GST payments as most units have suffered Covid impact including temporary shutdowns or negligible operations. A majority of micro entrepreneurs and traders still work on a paper-based approach where manual interfacing between them and their accountant takes place to finalise GST details and thereafter an electronic payment is made between the business owner and the accountant following which the latter pays the final GST to the government.
“GST payment deadline falls on 24th of every month. A majority of small businesses have been in shutdown mode across India since early or mid-April and for many of them filing and paying GST requires in-person coordination with their accountant which hasn’t been possible due to lockdown in most states across India,” Sachin Taparia, Founder & Chairman, LocalCircles told Financial Express Online.
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Based on a survey by the platform of more than 2,400 businesses located in 122 districts, 89 per cent respondents wanted no penalty and interest relaxations on GST late payment and return filing till June 30, 2021. By extending this date, the government will likely have to postpone 20 per cent of collection till June but it will have a positive impact on 80 per cent of businesses that are currently seeing cash flow challenges and have a high degree of future uncertainty, Taparia added. LocalCircles had escalated the need for relaxation for March GST payment and return to the government on April 23, 2021, and May 1, 2021.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had on May 1 issued a notification announcing the extension for filing the monthly GSTR-3B return by 15 days for taxpayers with a turnover of more than Rs 5 crore along with a lower 9 per cent tax rate for the 15 days. For taxpayers having up to Rs 5 crore in turnover in the preceding financial year, a 30-day period was given to file their 3B returns for March and April from their due date without a late fee. CBIC also announced the extension of the due date for GSTR-1 April sales returns filing till May 26 from the actual due date of May 11.