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Delayed GST returns: Here’s how much money government made in late fees

While usually delayed tax returns by the taxpayers is an inconvenience, and often a burden, for the exchequer, the Indian government has netted a neat sum of money in late fees those who delayed their GST returns. The government has collected Rs 4,172.44 crore in late fees from GST return filers in over one-and-a-half years from 1 July 2017 to 4 February 2019, The Indian Express reported citing Finance Ministry data.

In order to discourage delayed filings of returns, GST law provides for the imposition of a late fee under Section-47 of the CGST Act, 2017. Any registered person who fails to furnish returns by the due date must pay Rs 100 every day during the period of the failure, subject to maximum amount of Rs 5,000.

Government had previously reduced the late fee for delayed filing of returns to improve tax base. Now, the delay in filing of returns for both Central GST (CGST) and State GST (SGST) attracts a late fee of Rs 25 per day. Businesses that have ‘nil’ tax liability attract a late fee of Rs 10 per day.

Moreover, GST Council in its last meeting, had introduced a one-time late fee waiver for those filing GST returns till 31 March 2019. “Late fee shall be completely waived for all taxpayers in case Form GSTR-1, Form GSTR-3B & Form GSTR-4 for the months/ quarters July 2017 to September 2018 are furnished after December 22, 2018 but on or before March 31, 2019,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement. Also, the due date for filing of annual GST returns was extended to 30 June 2019.

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The interim budget 2019 acknowledged a shortfall of Rs 1 lakh crore in GST collections from target, with revised estimate for 2018-19 pegged at Rs 6.44 lakh crore in CGST.

A total of 1.17 crore taxpayers were registered under GST till 27 December 2018, of which 60.73 lakh were existing taxpayers who have migrated to GST, while 56.74 lakh were newly registered taxpayers, according to the Finance Ministry data.

Notably, average GST collections have risen, with the average gross collection in 2018-19 till the month of January coming in at Rs 97,555 crore, as compared to Rs 89,885 crore monthly average for the entire previous year.

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Source: Financial Express