Register for GST, if you pay indirect, service tax

The goods and services tax (GST) rates are finally out. And while the end-consumers will be impacted by change in prices of various commodities and services, the question is who, among entrepreneurs and professionals, is liable to register for it? And how will things change for them after July 2017? 

Who should register under GST? 

It is mandatory for anyone running a business or a professional to pay GST if the aggregate turnover exceeds Rs 20 lakh in a financial year computed on an all-India basis. For special category states, which include Northeastern states, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the limit is lower at Rs 10 lakh. 

“The aggregate turnover will include the value of taxable supplies, exempted supplies, exports and inter-state supply of goods/services but excludes the value of taxes (GST) on such supplies,” says Anita Rastogi, Partner, Indirect Taxes, PwC.

The GST legislation prescribes provisions for all those businesses or service providers, who are currently registered under the current indirect tax laws like Value Added Tax (VAT)/Central Sales Tax (CST)/excise/service tax, etc, to migrate to GST. “Such a migration would entail obtaining of a provisional number where all conditions are satisfied and it would be replaced by a final certificate of registration under the GST regime,” says Abhishek Jain, Tax Partner, EY India.

There are some other classes of persons who need to be registered and, therefore, will have to file returns like inter-state suppliers, deductors of Tax Deductible at Source (TDS), e-commerce operators, suppliers supplying goods through e-commerce operators.  

According to Naveen Wadhwa, General Manager,, every registered dealer is required to file a monthly sales return, monthly purchase return, monthly summary and annual summary return, except a composition dealer who is required to file single quarterly return.

“The dealer will have to file return, even if there is no business activity (that is, nil return) during the relevant period. A registered dealer not carrying out any business activity during the year will have to surrender his registration so as to avoid the monthly compliance of GST return filing,” he adds. 

How to register? 

Currently, the government has prescribed 30 April, 2017, as the deadline to migrate the existing registrations into GST. “As on date, there is no clarity available if an additional migration window would be provided for those who have missed the migration date,” says Suresh Rohira, Partner, Grant Thornton India. Further, a casual taxable person or a non-resident taxable person will have to apply for registration at least five days prior to the commencement of business.

In case of fresh registration, the person should apply in the state or Union Territory concerned within 30 days from the date on which he becomes liable for registration. Before applying for registration, the person should declare his PAN, mobile number, e-mail address and state/Union territory in Part A of Form GST REG-01 on the common portal. Once these details are verified, a temporary reference number is generated and communicated to the applicant through mobile number and email. Using the reference number generated, the applicant should electronically submit an application in Part B of Form GST REG-01, duly signed along with documents specified in the said Form at the Common Portal either directly or through a Facilitation Centre notified by the Commissioner. On receipt of an application, an acknowledgement shall be issued electronically to the applicant in Form GST REG-02. 

“The GST Common Portal has been made available to enable taxpayers enrol with GST. Paper-based enrolment option is not available. This portal will enable taxpayers to meet the compliance requirements, like filing returns and making tax payments,” says Rohira.

If you don’t register

Experts say that new dealers, who get registration under VAT or excise and service tax after January 30, 2017, cannot migrate to GST as provisional IDs for migration hasn’t been provided by the government, yet. Therefore, there are high chances that migration will continue even after missing the deadline of April 30, 2017. The good part is that even the migration date is missed, there will not be any legal action. However, there may be penal consequences for delayed registration and the person will not be able to pass on the benefit of GST paid on his outward supplies to the customer. “Also, in case the tax authorities initiate an enquiry for non-obtaining of registration, the same may entail application for registration being initiated suo-moto by the tax authorities, best judgment assessment of the tax liabilities, etc,” says Jain.

How will the process work? 

Ordinarily, a business would be required to file three returns per state, per registration, followed by an annual return. In case of non-filing, there is a late fee of Rs 100 a day, subject to a maximum of Rs 5,000. “The late fee exceeds to the extent of a quarter percentage of his turnover in the state where the annual return is not filed,” says Rustogi.

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