The Goods and Services Tax Council, in a meeting on Friday, approved a simplified system for filing tax returns. A government press release said the new software for filing returns will be ready in six months. Until then, the old procedure would continue.
Under the revised rules, all taxpayers have to file their returns once a month, except those dealing in composition schemes and those who have zero tax liability. A composition scheme allows taxpayers whose turnover is below 1 crore a year to pay the tax at a fixed rate.
The council also decided to change the ownership structure of the GST Network, a not-for-profit firm in which the central and state governments hold a 49% stake. The GSTN was formed to provide shared information technology and other services to central and state governments, other stakeholders and taxpayers to implement the new regime.
On Friday, the GST Council decided that central and state governments would acquire the remaining 51% stake in the GST Network amounting to Rs 5.1 crore, presently owned by private parties. This would make the GST Network a fully government-owned company.
“The GST Network Board shall be allowed to continue the existing staff at existing terms and conditions for the a period up to five years, and shall have the flexibility of hiring people through contract on the terms and conditions similar to those used by the network till now while hiring regular employees,” another government press release said.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that eventually, the state and central governments would each hold 50% stake in GST Network, ANI reported. “The collective share of the state governments will be prorata divided among the states in accordance with their GST ratios,” Jaitley added.
The finance minister said that the GST Council also expressed satisfaction at the revenue growth during the first year of the new tax regime. However, he said there was a need for increasing tax collection in the 2018-’19 fiscal year.