Finance Ministry Plans to Introduce Pre-filled GST Return Forms to Tackle Data Mismatches and Ease Compliance
In a strategic move to streamline the Goods and Services Tax (GST) filing process and address the persistent issue of data mismatches leading to unwarranted tax notices, the finance ministry is working towards the implementation of pre-filled GST return forms. A senior government official revealed that the ministry aims to roll out these forms before the commencement of the next fiscal year.
The primary objective behind introducing pre-filled GST returns is to alleviate the challenges posed by significant data discrepancies, which have been contributing to a rising number of unnecessary demand notices and complications for taxpayers. The official emphasized that the ongoing initiative is a work in progress, and the ministry is utilizing multiple templates to develop a consolidated pre-filled GST return form.
One of the key benefits of the proposed system is its potential to prevent data mismatches, providing a more efficient and user-friendly experience for businesses. The official stated, "The pre-filled GST returns will prevent mismatches apart from providing ease of doing business."
Currently, the department is engaged in a thorough analysis of the additional costs associated with enhancing the digital infrastructure to support the implementation of pre-filled GST return forms. The concern is to avoid any system slowdown or crashes resulting from the extraction of data from various databases.
The automated scrutiny module for GST returns, which utilizes data analytics, presently sends notices to assesses when data mismatches exceed 20 percent or when risks are identified by the system. Drawing inspiration from the success of a similar pre-filled template used in income tax return forms by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is actively evaluating the technological requirements and potential upgrades needed.
The official highlighted the importance of defining technological expectations and assessing the impact on digital infrastructure and processes. The ongoing debate revolves around determining the acceptable additional cost versus the benefits gained in terms of efficiency and error reduction. This evaluation is crucial in ensuring that the proposed system does not compromise the speed and responsiveness of the overall process.
To test the viability and efficiency of the pre-filled GST return form, an initial pilot phase is expected. The official clarified that since the initiative primarily focuses on enhancing taxpayers' convenience, approval from the GST Council may not be required to proceed with its implementation.
As the finance ministry strives to strike a balance between technological advancements, cost considerations, and the overall efficiency of the GST filing system, the introduction of pre-filled GST return forms could mark a significant milestone in simplifying tax compliance for businesses in the upcoming fiscal year.