Another set of changes to GST law has been announced on 20.10.2019. This time the GST Council has decided to restrict the input credit available to tax payers. Consequently, input credit in respect of invoices/ debit notes not uploaded by suppliers (i.e. not appearing in form GSTR-2A) cannot be availed in excess of 20% of the eligible ITC pertaining to invoices / debit notes uploaded by the suppliers. This input credit restriction is explained as an illustration below:
|Eligible ITC after amendment
|Input credit for Oct
|Input credit appearing in GST 2A
|Rs 600 is available as credit
|Input credit not appearing in GST 2A
|Rs 120 (600*20%) or Rs 400 whichever is lower i.e, Rs 120 is available as credit
|Total GST Input Credit
This amendment will create multiple problems for tax payers and tax professionals.Starting October 2019, all tax payers will have to reconcile the input credit as per books of accounts and GST 2A. Further, the differences between the two will have to be communicated to the vendors. This is essential to avail input credits.
How will this impact quarterly return filers?
As per the GST law, tax payers with an annual turnover of less than 1.5 crores have the option of filing GST 1 returns quarterly. If you are business filing monthly GST returns and your supplier is filing quarterly returns, then there is bound to be a input credit mismatch. This will lead to a situation where large businesses will stop buying from small vendors.
How will the GST portal identify ineligible credits?
All manner of GST credits are reflected in the GST 2A. The GST portal does not have any facility to distinguish between credits which can and cannot be availed. This being the case using GST 2A as measure to avail input credit is not a good idea.
Is a return matching tool available to tax payers?
The new return structure is supposed to include a matching tool. However, the launch of this tool has been put off till April 2020. The absence of this tool means that tax payers will have to invest in resources and systems to do the reconciliation. Further, there is a time constraint as GST returns have to filed on the 11th and 20th of the month. Setting aside weekly off days and one day for tax payment, the tax payers have a small time window to match GST credits, reverse ineligible credits, re-avail reversed credits and compute tax payable.
How will this impact compliance costs?
The GST has already increased compliance costs due to complicated returns schema and multitude of returns. GST law has been amended countless times since inception. Huge number of clarifications/notifications/ circulars have been released making matters even more complex. Further, this amendment also burdens tax professionals with more work prior to filing returns. This is bound to push up compliance costs.
The Government has not thought through this idea before implementation. There are basic errors in this idea which have not been addressed. Moreover, this idea does not address month end movement of goods i.e goods/services provided at the month end with invoices being raised,such goods/services received in the next month. There is bound to be input credit difference in this case as well.
A business owner will now have to chase all his vendors for input credits. Are business owners supposed to run business or worry about paper work? Chasing vendors will take up a huge resources and effort. Entrepreneurs are supposed to create jobs and fuel the economy. They are not be burdened with compliance clutter. These amendments to the GST are law are wholly unnecessary.