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GST processes to be simplified, biz with less than Rs 5 cr annual turnover to file return quarterly

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New Delhi Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) processes were being further simplified while adding that businesses with less than Rs 5 crore annual turnover will need to file quarterly GST return. She also announced to increase special additional excise duty and road and infrastructure cess on petrol and diesel by one rupee each, hike in customs duty on gold and precious metals to 12.5 per cent and imposing nominal basic excise duty on tobacco products and crude. The Union Budget 2019-20 also provides for exempting import of certain defence equipment from basic customs duty, reducing customs duty on certain raw materials and capital goods, and rationalisation of export duty on raw and semi-finished leather. “The threshold exemption limit for a supplier of goods is proposed to be enhanced from Rs 20 lakh to an amount exceeding Rs 40 lakhs. Taxpayers having an annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore shall file the quarterly return,” she said. She said that a fully automated GST refund module shall be implemented. “Multiple tax ledgers for a taxpayer shall be replaced by one,” she said. The Budget proposes to move to an electronic invoice system wherein invoice details will be captured in a central system at the time of issuance. “This will eventually be used to prefill the taxpayers’ returns. There will be no need for a separate e-way bill. To be rolled out from January 2020, the electronic invoice system will significantly reduce the compliance burden,” said Sitharaman. The Finance Minister said that the landscape of indirect tax has changed significantly with the implementation of GST. Terming it as a “monumental reform,” Sitharaman said the GST regime has brought together the Centre and the States with the result 17 taxes and 13 cesses became one and multitude of rates instantly became four. “Almost all commodities saw rate reduction. Tens of returns were replaced by one. Taxpayers’ interface with tax departments got reduced. Border checks got eliminated. Goods started moving freely across states, which saved time and energy. The dream of ‘One Nation,  One Tax, One Market’ was realised,” she said. She said that GST rates have been reduced significantly where relief of about Rs 92,000 crore per year has been given. “There is a need to unload the baggage and allow the business to move on, as more than Rs 3.75 lakh crore is blocked in litigations in service tax and excise,” she said. The budget proposes a dispute resolution-cum-amnesty scheme — Sabka Vishwas Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2019 — will allow quick closure of these litigations. The relief under the scheme varies from 40 per cent to 70 per cent of the tax dues for cases other than voluntary disclosure cases, depending on the amount of tax dues involved.

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