Filing of the first GST Annual returns is long overdue and the industry is waiting to file its very first set of returns GSTR 9 and GSTR 9C. Annual return filing due date is 31st August 2019 for the FY 2017-18. GSTR 9 is a summary return to report the entire year’s returns in a consolidated manner.
GSTR 9 format consists of several sections that need to be filled. The form is divided into 6 sections each requiring different details. The details that need to be filled are
· Basic details of the company like name, GSTIN number and business details,
· Inward and outward supplies, credit-debit notes, B2B, B2C, zero rated supplies, supplies to SEZs, deemed exports, advances and reverse charge supplies etc
· ITC details claimed during the year from inward supplies, inward supplies from registered as well as unregistered persons, ITC on imports of goods and services, ITC from ISD, transition credits
· Tax paid details as declared in the returns filed during the year like central tax, state tax, integrated tax, cess, interest, penalty and even late fees if any
· Details of the transactions for the previous FY declared in returns of April to September of current FY or up to date of filing of annual return of previous FY whichever is earlier
· Refund details for refunds due, sanctioned, rejected and pending along with tax demand details. Details of supplies received from composition dealers, job workers. HSN wise summary of inward and outward supplies.
The above detailed record is auto-filled in columns and sections in form GSTR 9 from the already filed monthly GSTR 1 and 3B of the taxpayer. However, these details can be edited if they do not match with the books of accounts and final figures as reported.
Automated GSTR 9 solutions are now readily available in the market that can ease the preparation of your GSTR 9 and help you compare records as per GSTN and your books of accounts. The tedious task of filling up all the sections in the GSTR 9 form can happen in a jiffy if you use automation and digitalise GSTR 9 tax return preparation. Especially with large corporates having millions of records for a year verification and assimilation of these records can be difficult. Automation has the capacity to improve the efficiency with which the information can be processed and segregated for return filing.
Here are a few features that you should look for in a GSTR 9 filing solution when you choose a filing partner:
1. Auto-population of fields
Considering that there are several sections to be filled the software should have capability to auto-fill the various fields based on the previous returns filed. The data can be fetched from the System Summary and GSTN Summary.
2. Pulling data from GSTR forms
The software should be able to pull data from the GSTN forms like GSTR-1, GSTR-2 GSTR-2A, GSTR-3B to auto populate GSTR 9. This will require access to the GSTN records and hence an authorized GSP that provides tax technology solutions should be the obvious choice here.
3. Option to edit values
GSTR 9 values that are auto-filled from the monthly returns may need edits since these values may have changed because of many factors. Sales might have reduced due to returns, purchases also undergo changes due to adjustments. Apart from this the entries for tax paid, ITC may also have some edits to be made at the year end and hence the option to edit values is a must.
4. Facility to compare values
GSTR 9 or the annual return filing format requires comparison of values that are filed on the GSTN with those that the system summary shows. This enables us to make sure that the figures that are reported are error free. A system that allows comparison between values is an added advantage here.
6. GSTR 9 Summary
The software must allow us to check the GSTR 9 summary before we file the return on the portal to check whether the fields are correctly filled and check whether the tax liability if at all any is correctly calculated. Any liability that arises at the time of filing this return needs to be paid using challan DRC 03.
7. Facility to compare different system summaries
The facility to compare different system summaries is an additional check where we can verify whether the all the values have been reported well. Comparison of GST Summary, System Summary and Modified Summary can help you in this.
8. Facility to report difference in values
Comparing different values is one feature and then calculating and showing the exact difference in values is another. “Show Difference” feature can show the exact amount of difference in each section of the GSTR 9 form and corrective action can be taken on these.
9. Creating an Audit Trail
Audit Trail needs to be created at the invoice level that can reveal all the transactions and events that have happened from the invoice level up to the return filing on the GSTN portal. This is a very important feature as it can reveal the reasons why a mismatch happened and how to rectify it.
All the above features are essential to ease the filing of the detailed GSTR 9 form and make the entire process faster and accurate.
Corporates are still struggling with being GST compliant and all they want is to be up to date with all the GST compliances and avoid any litigations and penalties. In such a scenario making a shift towards digitizing as many aspects of GST compliances to make the processes seamless and hassle free is a must. This also takes away the burden of investing too much time in compliances thereby reducing compliance costs and saving time. Automation is the key and will eventually lead to saving of precious business time too.