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Press release Illegal on last date for filing Return in GSTR 3B: Guj HC

Press release Illegal on last date for filing Return in GSTR 3B: Guj HC

Expressly stating that return in Form GSTR-3B is only a stop-gap arrangement and not a return in lieu of Form GSTR-3, the Gujarat High Court today held as illegal Centre's Press Release dated October 18, 2018 to the extent that it clarified that the last date for availing input tax credit relating to the invoices issued during the period from July, 2017 to March, 2018 is the last date for the filing of return in Form GSTR-3B A bench of Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice A C Rao held, "the impugned press release dated 18th October 2018 could be said to be illegal to the extent that its para-3 purports to clarify that the last date for availing input tax credit relating to the invoices issued during the period from July 2017 to March 2018 is the last date for the filing of return in Form GSTR-3B.

"The said clarification could be said to be contrary to Section 16(4) of the CGST Act/GGST Act read with Section 39(1) of the CGST Act/GGST Act read with Rule 61 of the CGST Rules/GGST Rules". Section 16(4) of the CGST Act/GGST Act provides that the last date for taking the input tax credit in respect of any invoice or debit note pertaining to a financial year is the due date of furnishing of the return under Section 39 for the month of September following the end of the financial year or furnishing of the relevant annual return, whichever is earlier.

The bench said so while disposing of a petition moved by Chartered Accountant firm AAP & Co through advocates Nipun Singhvi and Vishal J Dave challenging the impugned press release on the ground that bare perusal of Rule 61 of the CGST/GGST Rules would indicate that the return prescribed in terms of Section 39 is a return required to be furnished in Form GSTR-3 and not GSTR-3B. The applicant had sought quashing of the said part of the press release while submitting that as per the clarification made vide the press release, a taxpayer will not be able to claim the input tax credit for the period from July, 2017 to March, 2018 after filing of the return in Form GSTR-3B for the month of September 2018.

It was also contended that the decision to add return in form GSTR-3B was taken in the 18th GST Council held on 30th June 2017 on account of 'shorter return for first two months of roll out' and not as a return in substitute of return to be filed in form GSTR-3. The applicant has also challenged the Centre's authority to issue the press release in place of the GST Council. After hearing all parties concerned, the court decided the "moot question" i.e. "whether the return in Form GSTR-3B is a return required to be filed under Section 39 of the CGST Act/GGST Act. The aforesaid press release is valid and in consonance with Section 16(4) of the CGST Act/GGST Act only if Form GSTR-3B is a return required to be filed under Section 39 of the CGST Act/GGST Act". In answering this question, the court said,

"It would be apposite to state that initially it was decided to have three returns in a month, i.e. return for outward supplies i.e. GSTR-1 in terms of Section 37, return for inward supplies in terms of Section 38, i.e. GSTR-2 and a combined return in Form GSTR-3. However, considering technical glitches in the GSTN portal as well as difficulty faced by the tax payers it was decided to keep filing of GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 in abeyance. Therefore, in order to ease the burden of the taxpayer for some time, it was decided in the 18th GST Council meeting to allow filing of a shorter return in Form GSTR-3B for initial period. It was not introduced as a return in lieu of return required to be filed in Form GSTR-3.

The return in Form GSTR-3B is only a temporary stop gap arrangement till due date of filing the return in Form GSTR-3 is notified. Notifications are being issued from time to time extending the due date of filing of the return in Form GST- 3, i.e. return required to be filed under Section 39 of the CGST Act/GGST Act. It was notified vide Notification No.44/2018 Central Tax dated 10th September 2018 that the due date of filing the return under Section 39 of the Act, for the months of July 2017 to March 2019 shall be subsequently notified in the Official Gazette.

"It would also be apposite to point out that the Notification No.10/2017 Central Tax dated 28th June 2017 which introduced mandatory filing of the return in Form GSTR-3B stated that it is a return in lieu of Form GSTR-3. However, the Government, on realising its mistake that the return in Form GSTR-3B is not intended to be in lieu of Form GSTR-3, rectified its mistake retrospectively vide Notification No.17/2017 Central Tax dated 27th July 2017 and omitted the reference to return in Form GSTR-3B being return in lieu of Form GSTR-3.

Thus, in view of the above, the impugned press release dated 18th October 2018 could be said to be illegal to the extent that its para-3 purports to clarify that the last date for availing input tax credit relating to the invoices issued during the period from July 2017 to March 2018 is the last date for the filing of return in Form GSTR-3B," the court concluded.

Source: livelaw

 

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