New Delhi: A five-member ministerial panel led by Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi will meet in Bengaluru on Saturday to probe why the IT systems of GSTN, the company responsible for processing goods and services tax (GST) returns, could not handle the tax filings for July smoothly, forcing deadline extensions.
Several state ministers who are members of the GST Council, the federal indirect tax body which met in Hyderabad last Saturday, had expressed disappointment over the hiccups in GSTN’s IT infrastructure causing hardship to many businesses and traders in filing their tax returns. The Council decided to have a ministerial panel to oversee GSTN’s functioning and find a solution for the technical glitches.
The Council’s initial assessment is that the IT system put in place is robust although it is taking time to measure up to the challenge of accepting thousands of detailed invoices being uploaded by large businesses.
Sushil Modi told Mint that the immediate challenge before the committee is to identify the problems. “The government has prepared a robust system but people are finding problems. We have to identify solutions. No matter how robust a system is built, till the time it is not used, we will not know what the issues are," said Modi.
A finance ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the glitches in the IT system are only teething troubles, not any systemic issue. “There will indeed be minor glitches even when a small change is rolled out. GST is a massive reform and some technical issues are bound to happen," said the official.
The Council decided at its last meeting to give extra time to file various tax returns for the month of July in view of the technical glitches in the return filing process.
As per the revised return filing schedule, the last date for filing GST return 1 dealing with supplies has been extended by a month to 10 October. The Council also gave extra four months for filing a summary return for the month of July, the original deadline for which had expired on 25 August.
The troubles taxpayers faced include taxes paid not getting reflected in the system and inability to change certain information. Matching of invoices to ensure smooth flow of credits can happen only after fixing these issues. “We hope that the glitches are resolved in the next 10 days so that taxpayers could comply with the extended deadline," said Bipin Sapra, tax partner at consulting firm EY.
“GST has changed tax administration in a big way. We need to have solutions on a real-time basis," said another tax official, who also asked not to be named.
Other members on the ministerial panel are Chhattisgarh minister for commercial taxes Amar Agarwal, Karnataka agriculture minister Krishna Byregowda, Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac and Telangana finance minister Etela Rajendar.