Centre extends validity of expired e-way bills, GST audit deadline

In a major relief to India Inc, centre extended the validity of the expired e-way bills till May 31, reliving fears among transporters of the stoppage of goods at check posts and facilitating passage of goods across the states.

e way bill

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs on Tuesday extended the validity till 31st May for all those e-way bills that were generated on or before 24th March (When the first lockdown was announced) but had expired between the period from March 20 and April 15.

Early last month, the centre, amid lockdown, also extended the validity of the e-way bills issued before April 15 till April 30.  It then decided to further extend the validity of these e-way bills till May 31, but however, had not announced anything similar until now.

“Extension of lockdown has pushed the government to give the second extension for all the E-way bills generated on or before the 24 March, 2020…This extension is expected to give respite to many taxpayers who are already suffering due to complications in transportation services during the lockdown period,” said Rajat Mohan, Partner at AMRG & Associates.

As per the data by the Goods and Services Tax Network, e-way bill issuances dropped to 67 lakh during April, from 4.06 crore in March and 5.71 crore in February.

E-way bills are electronic invoices is mandatory for the transporters for inter-state and intra-state movement of essential and non-essential goods upwards of Rs 50,000.

Besides this, in a separate notification the centre has extended the time limit for filling of the annual return and GST audit for the financial year 2018-2019, till 30 September, 2020.

The department also permitted every registered person during the period from the 21st day of April, 2020 to the 30th day of June, 2020, to complete the summary sales return (GSTR-3B) verified through electronic verification code (EVC). Earlier this was not allowed.

Further, a registered person is allowed to now furnish a Nil summary sales return through SMS via registered mobile number. This return will be only be verified by a registered mobile number based OTP- facility.

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