Small businesses with no tax dues can now file GST returns with a text message


Small businesses with no tax liability can now file their Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns with text messages, GSTN, the company that processes GST returns, said on Monday.

The facility for filing returns with no tax payment liability has been extended to small businesses which file returns on a quarterly basis under the composition scheme, said the company. This facility has been available for larger firms which file returns on a monthly basis, since June.

About a fifth of the 1.7 million businesses that have signed up for the composition scheme and file ‘nil’ tax dues statement will benefit from the facility. For filing returns, they no longer need to log in to the GSTN’s portal. Their quarterly statement of self-assessed tax can be filed and validated with just two text messages.

This makes compliance easier for small firms, from which the authorities had faced a backlash initially when the technology-intensive tax system was rolled out in 2017. That had led to roll back of several security features of the new tax system to ease their pain. After handholding businesses in the initial three years, the authorities have in recent months begun to step up compliance measures by leveraging data analytics.

Since Friday, GST officials have arrested two persons in separate cases involving trading of fake invoices meant to evade taxes. Efforts are now on to place firms with questionable transactions under ‘risky category’ and block their tax refunds.

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