Biz can file nil GST returns with a text

Small businesses having no tax liability can now file their goods and services tax (GST) returns through text messages, GST Network, the firm that processes GST returns, said on Monday.

Since June, this facility was available for large companies that file returns every month. The facility has now been extended to small businesses that file quarterly returns under the composition scheme, it said.

About one-fifth of the 1.7 million firms that file ‘nil’ tax dues and had signed up for the composition scheme will benefit from the move. For filing returns, they will not have to log in to the GSTN portal. Their quarterly statement of self-assessed tax can be filed and validated in just two text messages.

This makes compliance easier for small firms, which had initially protested when the technology-intensive tax system was rolled out in 2017. The protests had led to a roll back of several security features in the new tax system to ease their pain. After handholding businesses for the first three years, the government has stepped up compliance measures by leveraging data analytics.

Efforts are now on to place firms with questionable transactions under the risky category and block their tax refunds.

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