Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said a strict GST filing timetable will apply from September. REUTERS/Danish Ismail/File photo

India will launch a new national Goods and Services Tax (GST) as planned on July 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday, but will let companies file late returns for the first two months so that they can adapt to a new online filing system, said a Reuters report on Sunday.

Jaitley, speaking after a meeting of a GST coordination panel, said there would be "a slight relaxation of time" covering July and August before the strict GST filing timetable would apply from September, Reuters reported.

At Sunday's meeting, officials also agreed on several sets of GST rules, including anti-profiteering guidelines intended to prevent traders exploiting the reform to ramp up prices, Reuters reported, quoting Jaitley as saying that the Council would meet again on June 30, a day before the launch of the new taxation regime.

GST is the biggest tax reform in India's 70-year history, and will require firms to file three online returns each month. Some business lobby groups have urged a delay to the rollout to allow more time to get ready.

"Relaxation for filing transaction-wise returns in July, August ... will provide relief to the industry," Harishanker Subramaniam, head of indirect tax at EY India, told Reuters.

The GST will be driven by an IT back-end that can process up to 5 billion invoices a month. More than 6.5 million businesses have already signed up for the GST, Jaitley said, more than four-fifths of those already registered to pay India's old business taxes.

Hasmukh Adhia, a finance ministry official, said that under the GST regime, companies will be able to file simplified, aggregate returns in July and August, with a deadline set for the 20th of the following month.

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