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Taxpayer interface not ready for GST

While the government remains committed to rolling out the GST regime from July 1, GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs), who are expected to help taxpayers cope with the transition to the new regime and its compliance paperwork, may only be operationally ready a few months down the line, say industry players.

“Being very upfront, we are not too confident about the July 1 roll-out deadline,” Tejas Goenka, executive director at Tally Solutions, one of the 34 GSPs so far approved by the GSTN, told The Hindu.

“The GSP model is not the only solution for the GSTN to meet its obligation to the citizens of the country — which is to get a system ready on which they can file their returns. It need not be that the GSP model will be out by July 1.”

Under the GST regime, the GSPs are expected to provide convenient methods to taxpayers to access and upload their documents and returns onto the GST Network (GSTN), the information technology backbone of the new indirect tax regime.

“Sitting on June 6, we aren’t confident that the GSP business will be ready,” Mr. Goenka added. “What will likely happen is that in the first two months, the government will say: ‘Let us get the basics right and start with pushing the new system out. On July 10, July 15, July 17 and July 20, (the dates on which the monthly I-T returns are to be filed by companies) let people file using the government portal, the offline solution.’ They’ll do something like that to get people to comply and then they will start pushing the GSP/ASP model over time.”

“The government has already said it would be delaying the roll-out of the e-waybill system because they are not ready,” another Suvidha Provider said on condition of anonymity. “It would not surprise me if the GSP system itself is pushed back a month or two. GST will come in a piecemeal way.”

Compatibility checks

Other GSPs say while they are confident in their own capabilities to meet the July 1 deadline, there are key processes — such as testing the compatibility of the GSTN software with the software run by each of the GSPs — that has not even begun as of now.

“The GSPs have to provide two kinds of services: their own infrastructure, and the readiness to comply with the GSTN,” Piyush Kumar, CEO of Taxmann Technologies, another GSP, said.

“The testing between the GSTN and the GSPs has not even started till now. This needs to be done so that the GSTN finds out the processes used by the GSPs, and then can revert back about whether the software is in compliance or not,” Mr. Kumar said.

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