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GST Return Filing & Invoicing
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1. Online Information and Database Access or Retrieval (OIDAR)

In today’s world, the businesses are not bound by the national boundaries. One of the mediums to provide services in India from abroad is through the use of the internet. There are various models through which these services are offered to the service users.

For example, Amazon providing cloud-based services (AWS) from the United States in India.

A common trade parlance used for these services is Online Information and Database Access or Retrieval (OIDAR) services. So OIDAR services are primarily a category of services which are provided by using the internet as a medium. These services are even received by the service recipient without having a physical interface with the service provider.

OIDAR services are brought under GST with a view to make sure that the domestic service providers have an equal opportunity (in terms of cost as well).

2. GST on OIDAR Services

The OIDAR services have been brought into the tax bracket under GST regime as well. A Return in Form GSTR-5A has been prescribed which is to be furnished by the OIDAR service providers providing services to unregistered service recipients in India.

There is two category of service recipients for such services:

A. Registered person/entity 

The taxes on services received by such person/entity are imposed through a reverse charge mechanism (i.e. the recipient of services is liable to pay GST to the government)

The GST as explained is paid by the recipients through the reverse charge mechanism.  The returns are to be filed accordingly i.e. the service receipts are to file returns or include these services while filing the returns.

B. An unregistered person, Government, Local authority

When the services are received by such recipients, the service providers are liable to pay GST to the government. The services received in this case should be for a purpose other than business or commerce.

For these service recipients, the GSTR 5A is to be filed.

3. Compliance requirements for non-resident OIDAR service providers

A. Filing requirements GSTR 5A

As per the act, a return under Form GSTR 5A has to be filed monthly. The due date for filing GSTR 5A is within 20th day of the succeeding month. For example, GSTR 5A for the services provided in the month of April 2018 has to be filed latest by 20th May 2018.

There are certain conditions and precautions which one should adhere to for/while filing GSTR 5A.

I. The return is to be filed even if there is no business activity for any period under tax (Nil return in such cases)

II. The filing of GSTR 5A is mandatory for the non-resident OIDAR service providers

III. No Input Tax Credit is available in GSTR 5A and so the electronic cash ledger for GSTR 5A isn’t maintained

IV. The return can be filed only after payment of due taxes and any other amounts due

V. Return for current period can’t be filed before filing return for the previous tax period

The GSTR 5A format is shown below for reference: Return format

Table 1: GSTIN of the supplier

Table 2: Legal Name of the Registered Person & Trade Name (if any)

Table 3: Name of the Authorized representative in India filing the return

Table 4: Period i.e. Month & Year for which return is filed

Table 5: Taxable outward supplies made to consumers in India – including details of place of supply, the rate of tax, taxable value, integrated tax and cess

Table 5A: Amendments to taxable outward supplies made to non-taxable persons in India for preceding period

Table 6: Calculation of interest, penalty or any other amount

Table 7: Tax Interest, Late Fee, and any other amount payable and paid

On the successful filing of GSTR 5A, an acknowledgement is generated and is also communicated automatically through an email to the taxpayer.

B. Late Fees for a delay in filing GSTR 5A

If there is a delay in filing of the Form GSTR 5A, the following late fees are payable:

Type of return Late fees applicable
Normal Return Rs. 200 per day
NIL Return Rs. 100 per day

4. Frequently Asked Questions

A. Are all the OIDAR service providers required to file GSTR 5A?

No, only the OIDAR service providers who are non-resident and are providing services to unregistered persons or government are required to file GSTR 5A.

B. Is registration necessary for these non-resident OIDAR service providers?

Yes, as without the registration, they will not have a GSTIN and without a GSTIN, the filing of GSTR 5A is not possible.

C. Can Input tax credit be availed in Form GSTR 5A?

No, there is no provision to avail the input tax credit in GSTR 5A. As it is also evident from the format above where there is no field or table to enter the details of ITC available.

D. How can the service providers make use of Authorised representatives in India to file returns?

The authorized representatives of the non- resident OIDAR service providers can act as their agent and file GSTR 5A on their behalf. They can also assist in making the payment of the taxes due.

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