The GST Council has heavily emphasized on keeping an accurate record of all the accounts, invoices, and transactions for all the businesses that come under the GST regime.
The section 53 and 54 of the GST Model Law cover all the details of keeping accounts and records under the new regime. The important details regarding these that the MSMEs must be aware of are as follows:
Accounts and Other Records
1. A person who is registered under the GST regime must maintain the correct account of the following:
- Manufacture or production of the goods.
- Outward and/or inward supply of goods and/or services.
- The stock of the goods.
- Output tax payable and paid.
- Input Tax Credit availed.
- Any other relevant records.
The records mentioned above must be kept at the business place concerned with them. However, in case the registered taxpayer has multiple places of business then each one will keep the account of the records that pertain to them individually. So, if a seller has one shop in Delhi and another in Bangalore, then he will need to make two separate accounts for these two places, the records of which will also be kept at the respective locations.
Note: All the records have to be created and maintained in the electronic form. Thus, the businesses must ensure they have required software and programs for the same.
Note: Under certain circumstances, a taxpayer may be exempted from keeping the records in electronic form. However, it is based on the Commissioner/ Chief Commissioner discretion. The reasons for such provision granted he approves in the first place, have also to be recorded in written form.
2. A Commissioner/Chief Commissioner may ask an MSME to maintain additional records other than the ones mentioned above.
3. If the annual turnover of a taxpayer exceeds the GST threshold of Rs. 1 crore then they have to get their accounts audited by a registered chartered accountant or a cost accountant and submit the copy of the audited statement of the accounts to the appropriate officer.
Note: A copy of audited annual accounts have to be submitted with a reconciliation statement via form GSTR-9B when filing the annual return via form GSTR-9.
Note: It is required that a chartered accountant or cost accountant certifies that the value of the supplies mentioned in the annual return reconciles with the annual financial statement that’s being audited. This is to be put in the reconciliation statement.
Retention of Accounts
The records and accounts that are specified above have to be kept by the taxpayer for a period of 60 months, i.e. 5 years, from the last date of filing their annual return.
For instance, the accounts and records of the financial year 2018-19 should be filed by 31 December 2019. However, the taxpayer must keep these accounts and records with them until 31 December 2019.
It is natural for the MSMEs that have been doing business for many years to face difficulties adapting to the changes in records maintenance, a major one of which is electronic format mandating. However, the transition can be made a lot easier and simpler through the use of appropriate GST support software and GST online services.
It is worth noting that given the benefits the GST regime is expected to give, the efforts made by you will certainly be worth it.