The Ministry of Finance, headed by Arun Jaitley, has decided to simplify the process of filing Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns and an announcement in this regard is likely to come soon. This will further ease the problems being faced by traders.

“In the 25th GST Council meeting held in January this year, the Ministry of Finance had given indication of possible changes in the procedure for filing GST returns. Further an expert panel was set up to work on the process of making GST return work simpler. The panel has charted out a simpler version of GSTR and the ministry is likely to announce the new form of GST return process soon,” a source who was part of the GST Council meeting said.

The changes were expected to be announced in the GST Council meeting held in January, but the Ministry of Finance did not make any conclusive announcement then, only saying that there were several alternative presentations on how to ease the process of filing GST returns and the GST Council will try to incorporate these presentations to ease the process of filing GST returns.

There are four kinds of GST return forms—GSTR-1, GSTR-2, GSTR-3 and GSTR-3B. While GSTR-1 contains details of all outward supplies, GSTR-2 contains all details of inward supplies or purchases, GSTR-3 contains all furnished details of all inward and outward supplies and GSTR-3B is a self-declaration form filed by a dealer. In the 23rd GST Council meeting, it was decided that filing of GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 forms would stop and only the filing of GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B would continue.

According to experts, the current GST return filing process is cumbersome work for traders and there is an urgent need to change the whole process.

If the changes that the Ministry of Finance is planning to effect come about, a businessman or dealer will only have to file the GST-3B form and will be required to upload supply invoices.

Addressing the problems faced by traders in filing GST returns in its 23rd meeting, the GST Council had made sweeping changes. The Council had tried to ease the burden of complying with GST rules for traders and businesses by relaxing deadlines for filing returns and fines for late filing.

Sachin Bhatia, Chief Executive Officer of Metro Infrasys, a consultancy firm, told The Sunday Guardian: “Due to lack of understanding and a cumbersome process for filing GST returns, traders are facing lots of problems. Also, filing for refunds requires a lot of paper work and this needs to be eased. Besides GST returns, traders are also facing problems in getting their refunds. The bulk of capital of thousands of exporters is stuck with the GSTN as the refunds claimed by them have not been given.”

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