Bengaluru, September 17, 2017

Group of Ministers head Sushil Kumar Modi says problems are bound to arise initially as this is an uncharted territory

The head of the Group of Ministers (GoM) tasked to look into Goods and Services Network’s (GSTN) technical problems, which has impacted the filing of tax returns, has assured that the issues will be resolved by October-end.

Sushil Kumar Modi, who heads the GoM and also Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, said on Saturday that he was confident 80 per cent of the problems encountered in filing tax returns will be resolved by October-end.

Addressing reporters, he further stated that as this is an uncharted territory, some technical problems are bound to arise initially. “Efforts are being made to address all issues in the next month and a half,” he said.

The group is examining the technical problems faced by GSTN, which is the IT platform for real-time taxpayer registration and tax returns. India’s second-largest software services provider Infosys is managing the IT infrastructure for GSTN.

The issue on hand was due to a rush in tax filing on August 30, which caused the system to crash, thereby hindering the filing process. Officials also added that around 80 officials of the Commercial Tax Departments of various States held meetings with all stakeholders — such as dealers, software experts, bankers, big corporates and tax consultants — to understand the various challenges they faced.

Further, it is estimated that even though around 85 lakh dealers have registered under GST, only around 3.05 lakh have filed their 3B returns, Modi said. The 3B returns is a self-assessment filing of sales and purchases to be made by businesses.

‘No extension’

Despite the glitches, the government has made it clear that no extensions will be given. “We have kept long deadlines for GST filing. For at least six months, the taxpayers have to file their own assessment. There will be no extension later,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters.

In the last 3-4 days before the deadline, there is a heavy rush to file returns, and tax payers wait till the last day, added Modi.

While business consultants agree on this, they point to other concerns which need to be looked into. “Key problems such as the de-registration facility or the refund mechanism to the exporters should be given preference as far as the system is concerned,” said Abhishek Rastogi, Partner, Khaitan & Company.

Before GST came into effect, GSTN was expected to handle 70 lakh tax payers and 300 crore business invoices every month, create reports and analytics.

[The Hindu Business Line]