The GST registration Amnesty scheme was implemented by the government to provide companies with a one-time relief from this. Non-filers of GST returns would be excluded from paying the fines and penalties imposed for late filing for a one-time period.
The GST registration system was implemented in 2017, and the Finance Ministry stated that many companies had neglected it and remained non-compliant even by 2020. The government required these companies to register for GST, so they created the Amnesty Scheme to help them do so.
- Non-filers of GST returns would be excluded from paying the fines and penalties imposed for late filing for a one-time period.
- So far, many companies have failed to file GST returns. The amnesty scheme would relieve companies and the GST council of any financial strain, reducing further pressure on them.
- Late payments accumulate for those who were responsible but did not file returns on time. This late fee was partially forgiven as part of the Amnesty Scheme. People who were previously reluctant to file for GST Registration can now register and file returns without fear of incurring exorbitant late fees or penalties.
Why GST Amnesty Scheme is needed?
- If an MSMEs fails to file GST on the due date, they will be fined about $50 per day. The Amnesty programme allows companies to clear up their backlog of non-compliances without fear of government retaliation.
- Over 1 lakh companies have taken advantage of the scheme, declaring tax dues totaling about 79,968 crores, which have been reduced by nearly 40,000 crores.
- The scheme was designed to help SMEs who have not filed GST in years and have accumulated significant late fees.
Benefits of Small Businesses under GST Amnesty Scheme
In an effort to assist enterprises, the government announced that mandatory e-invoicing would only apply to companies with a turnover of more than 500 crores. However, Nishank Goyal, the founder of Masters India, claims that e-invoicing, whether mandatory or not, would help SMEs.
The Plea on GST Amnesty Scheme
- The world was struck by a pandemic in 2020, and the economy was severely harmed. Except for necessities, all commercial operations were halted, forcing several companies to close. MSMEs were hit especially hard because they depend on daily transactions to stay afloat.
- As a result, many MSME owners struggled to cover their actual liabilities, let alone late fees. When the government launched the Amnesty Scheme, it gave people the ability to pay off their past-due debts without incurring any late fees. However, the programme was implemented at a time when companies were having difficulty making ends meet.
- Many people asked for the Amnesty Scheme to be extended so that they could prosper as well. The nation, on the other hand, did not expand it. As a result, Satyakam Arya, a Bilaspur-based trader, petitioned the Supreme Court for an extension of the scheme.
- He argued that since the problem affects the livelihood of many traders, the Supreme Court should step in and order the government and the GST Council to expand the scheme. During the pandemic, he pointed out, companies were forced to close. And that the Rs.50 per day late charge for MSMEs was excessive.
Decision of Apex Court on GST Amnesty Scheme
- The Supreme Court took up the case and dismissed it. The Amnesty Scheme, it was pointed out, was a legislative decision that had nothing to do with fundamental rights.
- The scheme was created as a means of assisting people in reducing their burden. This is for those who are required to submit GST registration. The government has complete control over policymaking, and the court cannot interfere unless it concerns people’s constitutional rights. As a result, the said plea will be denied relief under Article 32.