In its 21st meeting held at Hyderabad on 9th September, 2017, GST Council formed a small Group of Ministers (GOM) led by me Sushil Modi, Dy. CM of Bihar who had earlier also been Chairman of erstwhile Empowered Committee. GOM has been given a mandate to look into GSTN technological glitches and ensure its smooth functioning by taking required steps. GSTN had earlier claimed that it is prepared for GST launch and it has robust system in place.
GOM met for the first time on 17th September, 2017 at Bangalore and also resolved to meet on a fortnightly basis to review the working of IT backs one of GST.
GOM has identified various common issues after taking feedback from various stakeholders including tax consultants, traders, large business enterprises, tax officers etc including Infosys officials, the external technology partner.
The major issues confronting the GSTN include:
- site is not accessible with ease
- too much time being taken to update a form
- lack of various forms
- inability to rectify errors
- slow processing of applications
- bugs in software
- deregistration option not active
- refund mechanism for exporters
GOM has given time till 30th October, 2017 to Infosys team to resolve these issues. The Government is also considering the freeze on GST rate changes for a period of three months so that GSTN works smoothly. This may help GSTN to stabilize as presently, there are frequent changes in GST rate, almost every month. Frequent changes in forms, rate, returns and last dates pose challenge to IT infrastructure requiring change in configuration and software.
GOM, now seized with the issues will have to closely monitor the progress and developments, keeping in mind the timelines set for this, which is 30th October, 2017
There are over 8.5 million tax payers registered for GST out of which around 2.5 million are new assessees. Over 4.7 million assessees had filed their first ever return of GST (Form 3-B) for first month of GST, July, 2017.
However there are two advises for taxpayers, one not to wait till the last day to file returns as it adds to pressure on the system itself. Two, last date may not be extended any further after the recent extensions.