Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Tuesday (March 24), announced that no interest, penalty, or late fee will be levied on companies with a turnover less than INR 5 Cr for filing goods and service tax (GST) returns for March, April, and May 2020.
However, companies with turnover over INR 5 Cr will have to pay a reduced interest rate of 9% on their GST filings for these months, even though there will be no penalty or late fee. During her speech, in regard to the changes in light of the coronavirus lockdown situation in many key cities, Sitharaman also announced that the last date for filing GST returns is June 30, 2020. She also specified that in some parts of the country the last date for filings GST returns will vary thanks to a staggered approach. However, she assured that these dates will fall in the last week of June 2020.
Additionally, the last date for opting for the compensation scheme under GST is June 30, the finance minister said. The decision is expected to help startups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) pay their GST returns without any interest, penalty, and late fee.
Archit Gupta, founder and CEO of ClearTax said that various filing extensions and relief in compliance are essential for businesses to tide over these difficult circumstances. “Hopefully, the economic package in the works will help businesses recoup from the fall in revenues, which is very much likely in the coming quarter,” he added.
The development has come amid the coronavirus outbreak situation which has forced the country to go into lockdown. Many state government across the country have imposed Section 144 to curb the outbreak of this deadly virus in their respective states. This lockdown now has started to put pressure on the businesses of startups and SMBs. However, this announcement might have come as a relief for these startups and SMBs.
This decision from the finance minister is a part of the larger plan of the Indian government to prevent the economy from the impact of coronavirus. Besides this, the government has also appointed an economic task force to analyse the situation and announce multi-billion stimulus packages to revive the economy. The task force is headed by Sitharaman. “Under finance minister, the government has decided to form a Covid-19 economic response task force,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said while announcing the economic task force.