The GST Council on Friday decided to roll out in six months a new, simpler process of filing monthly returns. Briefing about the decision taken at the 27th meeting of the council, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said all taxpayers excluding a few exceptions like composition dealers shall file one monthly GST return in place of multiple filings currently required in a month.
Return filing dates shall be staggered based on the turnover of the registered person to manage load on the IT system. Composition dealers and dealers having nil transaction shall have facility to file quarterly return.
The new system would be put in place within the next six months and another six months would be given to the taxpayers to make the complete transition, Jaitley said.
Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the monthly return filing system will come into force in six months and the present system of filing of return through GSTR 3B and GSTR 1 forms would continue for not more than six months.
The GST Council also discussed the proposal to impose a cess on sugar over and above the five per cent GST considering the sugarcane farmers were in distress with the cost of producing sugar being significantly higher than its market price.
Jaitley said the Council had decided to set up a group of five ministers within two days to make a recommendation on ways to meet such contingencies where the cost of a commodity is higher than its selling price.
The committee will submit its report within two weeks keeping in view the urgency of the matter, Jaitley said.
"The committee will examine how these contingencies are to be addressed by the GST regime. Its constitution will be announced in the next two days," he said.
It was also decided to constitute in two days a separate group of five ministers from states to recommend a two per cent concession, subject to a ceiling of Rs 100 per transaction, to consumers if they pay through digital modes. This report will be submitted before the next GST Council meeting.
The GST Council also discussed the change in ownership structure of GSTN and decided that the government will take complete control by acquiring the 51 per cent equity of Rs 5.1 crore held by non-government institutions.
The 51 per cent equity will be acquired collectively by both Central and state governments following which they will hold 50-50 share in the private limited, not-for-profit company created to provide shared IT infrastructure and services for implementation of GST.
GSTN is handling large-scale invoice level data of lakhs of business entities including data relating to exports and imports.
"Considering the nature of 'state' function performed by GSTN, the Council felt that GSTN be converted into fully-owned government company," an official statement said.
Presently, the Central government holds 24.5 per cent equity shares while the state governments collectively hold another 24.5 per cent. The remaining 51 per cent are held by non-government institutions.