Finance Ministry to Consider Pre-Filled GST Returns to Tackle Data Mismatch Woes, says Reports

The finance ministry is actively considering the implementation of pre-filled Goods and Services Tax (GST) return forms, with the goal of introducing them before the upcoming fiscal year. The primary objective is to address the prevalent issue of significant data discrepancies that result in tax notices being issued to taxpayers. A senior government official has indicated that the development of the pre-filled consolidated GST return form is underway and can be completed before the next fiscal year.

The current system faces challenges related to data mismatches, leading to a surge in demand notices. The introduction of pre-filled GST returns is seen as a solution to not only prevent these mismatches but also to enhance the overall ease of doing business. Multiple templates are being utilized in the development process. The initiative is part of a broader effort to streamline and digitize the tax return process, ensuring accuracy and efficiency, reported Money Control. The automated scrutiny module for GST returns currently uses data analytics to identify cases where data mismatches exceed 20 percent, triggering the issuance of notices to assesses. The approach draws inspiration from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which has successfully employed a similar pre-filled template for income tax return forms for several years.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is actively evaluating the technological requirements and upgrades necessary for the implementation of pre-filled GST return forms. Discussions are ongoing regarding the additional costs associated with enhancing the digital infrastructure to support the new system. The focus is on preventing slowdowns or crashes during the extraction of data from diverse databases.

The finance ministry, in defining the technological requirements, is considering the potential impact on efficiency as automation increases. The extraction and population of data from various databases is acknowledged as a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. The ongoing debate revolves around determining the acceptable additional cost in comparison to the benefits gained from the implementation of pre-filled GST return forms.

To test the functionality and efficiency of the new system, an initial pilot program will be conducted. Importantly, the official has mentioned that approval from the GST Council is not deemed necessary for the implementation, as it directly impacts taxpayers’ convenience. This signals a commitment to streamline processes and leverage technology to enhance the overall GST return experience for taxpayers.

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