GST Council meet: Inter-state e-Way bill mandatory from April 1

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GST Council meet: Inter-state e-Way bill mandatory from April 1

New Delhi : The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Saturday finalised April 1 for the nationwide mandatory rollout of inter-state e-Way Bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said here.

However, the Council could not come to any agreement over the simplification of the return filing process and extended the current system of filing GSTR 3B and GSTR 1 for another three months till the new return system is finalised.

It also extended the benefit of tax exemptions on imported goods for exporters by another six months and deferred the implementation of reverse charge mechanism by three months.

"From April 1, e-Way bill be implemented for inter-state transport of goods. After a week of the inter-state implementation, it will also be rolled out for intra-state movement of goods in phased manner with four groups of states," Jaitley said. 

"Each group will come under it every week and efforts will be made to implement it across the country by April end," said the minister after the 26th GST Council meet here.

However, every state has to come on board for the intra-state implementation latest by June 1.

In its February 24 meeting, a Group of Ministers headed by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi recommended April 1 as the date for compulsory implementation of the system for inter-state goods movement.

Under the GST regime, an e-Way bill needs to be generated and carried for movement of all goods valued at over Rs 50,000. 

Jaitley said that while there were no tariff items on the agenda of the GST Council on Saturday but only some procedural issues including the simplification of the return filing system. 

"Last time, two alternate models were discussed. Tax administration strongly feels that while there should be simplicity in the return filing process, but there shouldn't be any scope for evasion either," he said.

While a system was proposed and discussed at length during the meeting but no concrete decision could be taken on it yet. 

"The Council's view was the system with single and simple monthly return, and with no scope for evasion, needed further simplification. That's why, today there was no conclusive decision. We have extended the current system by three more months," Jaitley said. 

He said that in the meantime, the Group of Ministers will interact with information technology experts on further simplification of the system presented in the meeting and would come up with a model for its implementation.

"The liability to pay tax on reverse charge basis has been deferred till June 30. In the meantime, a Group of Ministers will look into the modalities of its implementation to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to the trade and industry," an official statement said.

The Council also suspended the provisions for deduction of tax at source (TDS) and collection of tax at source (TCS) till June 30.

"In the meantime, the modalities of linking state and Central governments accounting system with GSTN will be worked out so that seamless credit is available to the registered traders whose tax is deducted or collected at source," the statement said.

Deloitte India's Senior Advisor YG Parande said the current dispensation for returns for further three months was inevitable and expected.

"It is clear that a consensus has not yet been arrived at on the changes in return filing process. In the circumstances, the continuation of the current dispensation for returns for further three months was inevitable and expected," he said. 

"The indication that the decision on returns would be taken after consultation with tax experts and others (presumably industry bodies) is a welcome indication. The extension of exemption for exporters will be a relief to them. 

"As regards e-Way bill, it is to be hoped that the roll-out will be preceded by extensive testing and validation so that the earlier glitches do not recur," he added.