New Delhi, August 26: The government on Wednesday changed the interest liability rules and said that the interest on delayed payment of Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be charged on net tax liability with effect from September 1. Reports inform that the industry had earlier this year raised concern over the directive of recovery of about Rs 46,000 crore of unpaid interest on delayed GST payment. The interest was charged on gross tax liability.

It was in March that the GST Council, which comprises of centre and state finance ministers, had decided in its 39th meeting that interest for delay in payment of GST to be charged on net tax liability with effect from July 1, 2017, and law would be amended retrospectively. However, on August 25, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) notified September 1, 2020, as the date from which interest would be charged on net tax liability.

Earlier, the CBIC had said that GST law permits interest calculation on delayed GST payment on the basis of gross tax liability. This position has been upheld in the Telangana High Court's decision dated April 18, 2019. It must be noted that the net GST liability is arrived at after deducting input tax credit from gross GST liability. Therefore, calculating interest on gross GST liability increases the payout burden on businesses.

According to AMRG & Associates Senior Partner Rajat Mohan, this notification seems to be in disconnect with decisions of GST Council wherein it was assured to the taxpayers that the said benefit would be available retrospectively from July 1, 2017. “Prospective availability of this benefit would mean that millions of taxpayers may be looking at demand of interest for over 3 years from the date of GST implementation. Businesses are expected to approach the High Courts again on this unjustified and illegal demand of interest basis the ''principle of estoppel'', Mohan said.

Businesses, which are other than those under the composition scheme and quarterly return filers, registered under goods and services tax (GST) have to file returns (GSTR-1). They have to show tax liability by 11th of following month and pay taxes by filing GSTR-3B between 20-24 (due date varies according to the state in which businesses are registered). There have been cases where GST assessees have paid taxes after due date but did not pay the interest due on account of delayed payment.