New Provisional Sales Tax Return Error and Its Impact on Business

This article explores recent changes to the Sales Tax return system, specifically the “The Return Shall Remain Provisional/Draft” error message and its implications for businesses.

The Issue: Delayed Filing and its Consequences

Previously, businesses could file their Sales Tax returns even if their suppliers hadn’t filed theirs. However, under the new regulations introduced through SRO 350, a return might be blocked with the message “The Return Shall Remain as Provisional/Draft” This occurs when a buyer’s (your) supplier (seller) hasn’t filed their Sales Tax return within a specified timeframe.

Understanding the Logic Behind the Change:

The government aims to curb the use of fake invoices with these updated rules. By linking return filing between buyer and seller, the authorities hope to encourage businesses to source from legitimate vendors and file returns on time.

Impact on Businesses:

The new system presents challenges for businesses:

  • Delayed Filing by Sellers: If a seller delays filing their return, your return gets blocked, potentially leading to late filing penalties for you.
  • Practical Difficulties: Managing timely filing for numerous vendors can be overwhelming.

Potential Solutions:

  • Negotiate Early Invoice Submission: Encourage your suppliers to submit invoices with embedded GST details before their filing deadline.
  • Staggered Payments: Consider structuring payments to sellers with a holdback amount released upon their return filing confirmation. (This approach might not be feasible for all businesses.)

Moving Forward:

  • Stay Updated: Be aware of upcoming changes to Sales Tax regulations and the balance sheet filing requirements.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consider consulting a tax advisor to ensure smooth compliance under the evolving tax regime.


While the new Sales Tax return filing rules might pose initial challenges, they aim to promote a more transparent and accountable tax system. By adapting your business practices and seeking professional advice, you can navigate these changes effectively.

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