Network to be ready soon for GST rollout

Bengaluru, March 2 (IANS) As the world’s largest open source project, the Goods and Services Taxes Network (GSTN) will be ready soon for implementation across the country, a top official said on Wednesday.

“Our network will be ready by June for introducing the GST at the Centre and in all states, including union territories of Delhi and Puducherry,” GSTN chief executive Prakash Kumar told reporters at an event here.

As a broad-based and comprehensive, single indirect tax, levied concurrently on goods and services across the country, GST will replace most of the central and state indirect taxes such as value added tax, excise duty, service tax, central sales tax, additional customs duty and special additional duty of customs.

As a tax levy on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services at a national level, GST is a credit mechanism, collected on value-added goods and services at each stage of sale or purchase in the supply chain.

“GST will be levied at every stage of the production and distribution chains by giving the benefit of Input Tax Credit (ITC) of the tax remitted at previous stages; thereby, treating the country as one market,” Kumar asserted.

Software major Infosys, which bagged the Rs.1,379-crore deal to set up the nationwide network and operate for five years, is working overtime to ensure it is up and running for rolling out the digital service soon across the country.

“Our teams are working with the GSTN firm and other stakeholders, including officials of the central and state governments, to implement the new tax regime,” Infosys India business head C.N. Raghupathi told IANS.

The GST will come into force once the 122nd constitutional amendment bill is passed by parliament and enacted into an Act when 50 percent of the states ratify it and rules are framed.

“We need five-six months to roll out the GST as businesses and traders need to be told about its working,” Revenue Secretary Hashmukh Adha told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday at a discussion on the 2016-17 general budget.

With the GST bill stuck in the Rajya Sabha for want of consensus between the ruling National Democratic Alliance and the Congress-led opposition parties, its introduction with effect from April 1, as envisaged earlier, is ruled out.

“The network is built for about 70 million taxpayers, who will upload about three billion (3 crore) business-to-business (B2B) invoices every month across the country,” Kumar said at a day-long meet on ‘How to be digitally ready for GST’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) southern region.

As against the complex and time-consuming filing of returns offline, a company will have to fill only two forms, as various taxes such as GST will subsume value added tax, central sales tax, central excise and other taxes at state level.

“In addition to filing monthly returns online in a secured network, the users can pay the tax online with an automated generated challan (form) attested by their digital signature certificate,” Kumar added.

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