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Its one year of GSTN, too
November, 08th 2017

It is the other reform that started a year ago, but was quietly overshadowed with the sudden announcement of demonetisation of ?500 and ?1,000 currency notes that had most people lining up outside banks to exchange their money.

Heralding the roll out of the new indirect tax levy from July 1 this year, the Goods and Services Tax portal ( kicked off operations a year ago.

Starting on November 8, 2016, the portal started registration for taxpayers of GST in Puducherry and Sikkim. Simultaneously, a helpdesk was also started to handle the query of taxpayers.

“This was one of the starting steps towards implementation of GST. Since all processes such as return filing, payment of taxes and refunds under GST are online, all businesses that would attract the tax had to be registered on the portal,” said a senior official.

In the one year period, 85 lakh GSTINs have been set up and over 72 lakh dealers have activated their credentials.

Technical glitches notwithstanding, as many as 2.26 crore returns have been filed on the portal between August 5 and October 31.

The site has also handled 1.4 crore payment transactions. Further, over 35 crore invoices filed along with 47 lakhs GSTR-1 on the portal.

The first round of invoice matching with GSTR-2 will start on the portal from November 30.

Additionally, the GST Council in its next meeting on November 10 is expected to look at further ease of compliance for businesses, including quarterly filing of returns for more businesses.

Deflecting criticism on technical problems, officials pointed out that the IT system has been evolving with the various changes in the compliance norms and returns for the new tax.

Further, with taxpayers tending to file returns on the last day, the IT system faces pressures.

For instance, on September 20, which was the last day for return filing of August, over 13.76 lakh taxpayers’ filed their GSTR 3B. “On that day, the portal conducted more than 7 lakh payment transactions and more than 50,000 new applications for registration. Even at this load, the servers’ utilisation was below 26 per cent,” said the first official.

Despite the many challenges, industry is also upbeat.

“The GST portal is a paradigm shift in terms of technology with 85 lakh taxpayers on its system. More over, the GST Council and GSTN have been very receptive to concerns of taxpayers,” said Archit Gupta, founder and CEO, ClearTax.

Abhishek A Rastogi, Partner, Khaitan & Co, said that now GSTN should facilitate de-registration. “Various assesses who are exempted have been migrated and are required to be deregistered. Appropriate measures for de-registration should be facilitated,” he said.

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