GST: GoM suggests April 1 date to rollout e-way bill system

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A group of State finance ministers (GoM), led by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, on Saturday mooted the implementation of the provision for electronic-waybill generation for inter-State movement of goods from April 1, under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. However, while trial runs had been operational since January 15, a full nation-wide roll-out attempted on February 1 failed after the portal generating eway bills crashed.

However, there was no consensus on simplification of return filing processes under GST with differences persisting among the various stakeholders.

After implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1, the requirement of carrying e-way bill was postponed pending IT network readiness.

Sources said matching of returns may be started gradually after the new system of return filing stabilises.

Modi said the idea is GST return form should be simplified, it should ideally be one return every month.

Modi, who is the state finance minister, said the infrastructure has been substantially upgraded for smooth implementation this time, with two phases of load testing completed and the third phase likely to be completed in the next few days. Sushil Modi said that there are different views on a number of issues including allowing provisional credit and linking of credit with tax payment. The initial summary return GSTR-3B "will continue for sometime", he added. "If problems faced are not resolved, we will stage dharnas and intensify our stir", said Ashish Shah, a city-based tax consultant addressing media persons on Saturday.

Significantly, there is also talk on whether the mix of monthly and quarterly returns should continue or whether all businesses should only file a monthly return.

So far 7.28 crore returns have been filed with GSTN and almost 197 crore invoices processed.

More than 9.5 lakh taxpayers and 8,500 transporters are registered on the e-way bill portal, Modi said.

Modi said that 26-50 lakh e-way bills are expected to be generated per day once the system gets adopted across the country.

The recommendations of the GoM are expected to be taken up for discussion by the GST Council in its next meeting on March 10. "In a phased manner, 4-5 states every week would be allowed to implement intra-state e-way bill", said Modi. The intra-state eway bill system however, will be rolled out in a phased manner after assessing the performance of the former. The panel has pushed for a phased rollout of e-way bill system for intra-state movement of goods, a move aimed at preventing overloading of the system. The decision to launch this system in phases will give businesses time to adapt to it and also help the GST Council fix glitches, if any arise, BloombergQuint quoted Deloitte India Senior Director MS Mani as saying.

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