Tax authorities are grappling with a Rs 34,000-crore goods and services tax (GST) puzzle amid fresh fears in the government of businessmen evading taxes.Preliminary analysis of returns filed between July and December with the GST Network has indicated that the scale of under-reporting of tax liabilities could be as much as Rs 34,000 crore.

The issue was flagged at Saturdays GST Council meeting and notices may be issued to traders and businessmen who have shown different liabilities in GSTR-1, which is largely used for information purposes now, and GSTR-3B. The idea is to focus on those who have shown a wide variance in the two filings, a source told TOI. In many cases, details of the suspects will be shared with states for action after analysing details of individual taxpayers.

The variation in the two returns may be detected as many businesses may not expect the government to tally GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B that includes detailed filing of payment based on input tax credit and use of previous balance.

However, there could be valid reasons for the variation since at the time of payment of taxes, input tax credit accumulated over months is used, along with the current periods.A mismatch may exist due to many reasons - order received last minute and not included, sales erroneously counted twice, inter-state supply inadvertently shown as intra-state supply or vice-versa, sales returns not included or exports wrongly included. Invoices which are not captured via the summarised GSTR-3B are then offered in the next months GSTR-3B, and tax due and interest on it must be paid.

The Council has however decided that the present system of filing GSTR 3B and GSTR 1 be extended for three months till June 2018 till the new return system is finalized. A new model was discussed extensively and group of ministers on IT has been tasked to finalise the same.

Due date of filing GSTR-3B return is 20th of the next month. For instance, the 3B return for the month of March can be filed anytime before April 20, and similarly, the 3B return for the month of February can be filed anytime before March 20.

Taxpayers with an annual turnover that amounts to Rs. 1.5 crore or less are obligated to file their GSTR-1 returns quarterly. The due date for such taxpayers is 30th of the month following the end of respective quarter. For the March (Jan 1 to March 31) quarter, for instance, the deadline would be 30th of April.

Those with a turnover of Rs. 1.5 crore and above are meant to file monthly returns of GSTR-1. The deadline for monthly return is 10th of the month that comes two months after the end of respective month. For instance, the GSTR-1 return for the month of January can be filed by March 10. Likewise, returns for the months of February and March can be filed by April 10 and May 10.

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