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GST Return Filing – Manual Vs Technology

Hardships in filing GST Returns manually v/s Ease with Technology.

Following are the pointers, hardships an individual is facing while filing his/ her returns. It could be a consultant or a co-worker that has to go through when filing GSTR i.e. GST Returns manually and how the advent of technology would help such individual to ease their burden:

As per the current situation, for the month of July 2017 the due date for filing GSTR-3B which is a consolidated return was 20 August 2017, for filing the GSTR-1 for businesses whose turnover is more than 100 crores is 3 October 2017 and for others, it is the 10th of October 2017. The company shall get GSTR-2A which is an auto-generated data to view the same from 11 October 2017 till they file the GSTR-2 return by 31 October 2017.

Step 1:

Manually create a folder month wise then state wise then location wise for proper preparation and filing of GST returns i.e. Folder July 2017 – Folder State – Folder Location – Folder for Returns viz GSTR-3B/ GSTR-1/ GSTR-2/ GSTR-3 and so on.

Step 2:

If an organization has different locations bearing one GSTN then the same needs to be first combined together as per the desired return format for reporting purpose.

Step 3:

Under Folder for Returns first you need to download and save different registers (location combined as per step 2 and as per the company requirement) i.e. Sales register, Purchase register, etc. in excel file format which needs to be downloaded from the respective ERP used in that organization which is required for reporting the data in GST returns.

Step 4:

From the excel file downloaded from the ERP in their format first needs to be the same as the desired GST return format prescribed by the Government i.e. the details must be bifurcated into different buckets like details of outward and inward liable to Reverse charge, details of inter-state supplies made to an Unregistered person, composition taxpayers, UIN holders, eligible and ineligible ITC, etc.

Filing the details in the GSTR can be done online on the GST portal by login into a particular state GSTN ID and password or by downloading the offline utility from the same portal.

Step 5:

Once the return file is prepared offline or online by an individual the same needs to be saved for further review of the numbers. whether properly reported before uploading into the portal. To ensure that there are no any changes required to be made in the file that needs to be done manually after giving proper inputs in the ERP systems, as the same needs to tally on a monthly basis.

Step 6:

Once the changes are made the final output file needs to be converted into the JSON file for uploading into the portal. During the process, if there are any errors being generated by the portal after uploading the same needs to be corrected first for the GST return to be submitted into the portal, which means till all the error are clarified the return cannot be submitted on the portal successfully.

Step 7:

For uploading the JSON file an individual has to login into the GSTN portal for multiple times to file different state wise returns and for different GSTRs.

PS:

  • The same process of filing GSTR-3B needs to be followed if you need to file returns for another state with different GST number viz. If you are registered in 30 different states then the same process needs to be followed 30 times within the time prescribed by the GST law.
  • Further, for filing the GSTR-1 i.e. Outward supplies the above same process needs to be followed for multiple state filing.
  • Also, there are many restrictions in filing GSTR in offline mode some are as follows:
    • You need to download the GSTR offline tool only after checking the version of the GSTR before filing and uploading on the portal.
    • You need to delete the data every time in excel file if you need to upload a fresh file.
    • There are certain constraints in some of the fields in the GSTR return offline tool whereby you need to fill the details online.
    • If there is some error highlighted in the file then the same needs to be deleted first and then fill the file as a fresh line item.

However, where the returns are prepared through technology, following steps are involved for all the GST numbers together:

Step 1:

Create folder month wise in one FTP folder from where the data is in any format i.e. Excel, CSV, etc. for different states and different location in one file with combined data will flow automatically (one type activity for mapping required at the start of implementation) based on the scheduler fixed for timely flow of data i.e. Weekly basis, daily basis, hourly basis based on the requirement of the company. Once the data flow to the system the same is saved for future reference on monthly basis.

Step 2:

The data file viz. Sales register, purchase register, etc. saved in the FTP folder in any format (one dump file for all states with different location from respective ERP) which is extracted directly from the ERP with all the desired fields required as per the return format will automatically first convert the data state wise and combine the data to a particular location and then automatically bifurcates based on the logic developed in the system as per the rules and the laws provided at the time of implementation into different buckets required as per GSTR-3B/ GSTR-1 file format.

Step 3:

The return can be downloaded from the system itself GSTN wise and reviewed and in the system, itself if there is a mistake or if there is an error then the necessary changes can first be done in the system itself and later in the ERP (as it is MUST) for which system creates a file log for all the changes made in the system or else first make the necessary changes in ERP and let the correct data flow to the system.

Step 4:

The corrected/ final returns in draft mode will be automatically get converted into the JSON file which is good to be uploaded into the portal. There are least chances of error in the JSON file generated by the system and if any would be because of the version changes made in the JSON file by the portal.

PS:

  • When filing returns through technology, the GST returns can be uploaded from the system itself for multiple states at one go without logging in multiple times for different states onto the GSTN portal.
  • Also, the GST returns can be filed directly from the system onto the GSTN portal directly based on the API provided by GSTN portal.
  • Further, no need to follow the same process to prepare GSTR-1 as the data which was uploaded on the system to prepare GSTR-3B would be used to convert the data into the GSTR-1 format on a click of a second.
  • The restrictions of version type, error report, changes are taken care by the system itself so individual need not track such changes.

The process followed while filing GSTR-2 (Inward Supplies) for 1 state and the same steps need to be followed for other states where the company is registered:

Based on the GSTR-1 filed by all the supplier, GSTR-2A will be auto-populated by the GSTN portal and will be available only for review purpose in readable format i.e. Without any action to be taken on the file. The GSTR-2A will be generated only after the due date of filing GSTR-1 for which the current period is after 3rd October 2017 and 10th October 2017 i.e. From 4th October 2017 and 11th October 2017 respectively till filing of the GSTR-2 the due date is 31st October 2017.

So, following is the process which is followed when filing the returns manually:

Step 1:

An individual has to be login into each state onto the GSTN portal to download or view online the data which is uploaded by the supplier in GSTR-2A. An individual has to be 24*7 logged into the portal as their maybe chances of delay in filing the GSTR-1 by the supplier which will be available to the counterparty and when they file their returns before 31st October 2017.

Step 2:

Firstly, you need to download the inward related registers from the ERP in excel format and save in the same month, file under the respective state folder and so on. Secondly, you need to download GSTR-2A return readable form from the GSTN portal and save the same in that folder. The GSTR-2A has 4 buckets which need to be downloaded B2B invoices, Credit/ Debit Notes, Amendments to B2B invoices and Amendments to Credit/ Debit notes.

Step 3:

Next, you need to compare manually the details for inward transactions downloaded from your ERP excel format register with GSTR-2A downloaded from the portal. Also, there may be chances that this GSTR-2A may undergo changes because of the delay in filing GSTR-1 and hence they need to be updated every time GSTR-2A needs to be downloaded and compared.

Step 4:

Next, on the portal, you need to generate the GSTR-2 summary with status shown as not filed. However, if the number of transactions is less than 500 the same can be reviewed online or else you need to review the data in an offline tool.

Step 5:

Manually doing through online or offline utility there is a lot of hardship whereby an individual has to manually select and check whether an action has been taken on all invoices or not. Therefore, in each and every invoice line details an action needs to be taken. An action can be Accept, Reject, pending after comparing the details in excel file downloaded from the ERP.

Step 6:

There may be certain transactions against some of the suppliers which would not be reflecting in your GSTR-2 summary as well as GSTR-2A. In that case, you need to manually add missing invoice details in GSTR-2 and save it every time.

Step 7:

Some of the fields like Import of goods and services, Inward supplies from an Unregistered supplier, Debit Note/ Credit Notes, etc. need to be manually filled in GSTR-2 with the help of the excel file downloaded from the ERP, keeping in mind that there is no duplication of entry.

Step 8:

Once all the actions are taken on all invoices and additional details are filled then the same needs to be saved and then again need to review the GSTR-2A summary data whether everything is fine before uploading on the portal as once the data is uploaded the same cannot be revised but can be amended in next month return.

However, where the returns are prepared through technology, following steps are involved for all the GST numbers together:

Step 1:

As the system is already mapped and scheduled the inward data automatically flows to the system which is directly connected to GSTN portal through APIs. Also, a first level validation takes place with respect to the rate, determination, etc. Into the system itself.

Step 2:

From the system itself, you can download the data uploaded by your counterparty in form GSTR-2A with different buckets and the system itself checks for errors if any, in any invoices. All the transactions which are correct are auto ticked as Accepted and the error ones are highlighted in ‘Red’ for further action. The action on the said RED invoice either can be done online on the system itself or you can download the error report for further action. Once the action is taken from such invoice the same will be updated on the system and again validation will be done to see if there is any further error.

Step 3:

Once step 2 is done the data will be automatically be converted into GSTR-2 file with all the additions and action items updated and you can download the draft for GSTR-2 file and review it with the ERP data.

Step 4:

Once the return is fine for upload the same can be uploaded from the system itself for all the states from the said system.

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Content Courtesy:

Veena Cheriyala

Manager – Enterprise Sales, Udyog Software

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