The GST system which will be maintained by the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), a not-for-profit company, is the backbone of the new GST regime slated to be ushered on July 1st. GSTN will provide common and shared IT infrastructure to the central and state governments and to the taxpayers. Registration, filing of returns and e-payments will happen via a common GST portal.

The immediate steps: A beta testing exercise of the GST system will be undertaken in mid-May. State governments, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), tax officials drawn from these departments and actual taxpayers selected by them will be involved in the beta testing exercise. Even chartered accountants will be involved in this initiative  in short, all people who use the system.

Since a plethora of taxes have been subsumed in GST, data will be flowing to the GST system from nearly 85-90 lakh taxpayers (comprising nearly 65 lakh existing VAT payers, 20 lakh service taxpayers and the balance largely being central excise taxpayers). We expect 260-300 crore of B2B invoices to be uploaded on the GST portal per month.

GSTN will also enable uploading of invoices through an offline tool, which will be helpful in areas which have internet connectivity challenges.
Confidentiality of data: Even at the planning stage itself, the prime consideration build into the scope of work was the security of the system. The vendor was required to build a system that would be ISO 27001-certified, which is the best standard of financial security in the world. The mandate was given to Infosys in November 2015.

Now, the user fees of around Rs 550 crore per annum from the governments. The Centre will bear 50% and the balance will be from the states in proportion to the number of taxpayers.


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