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A Delve Into The Goods And Services Tax Network: Understanding Its Goals And Values

The Goods and Services Tax Act came into force in 2017 and has since revolutionised the payment of indirect taxes in the country. This digitalised the process of tax filing, removed cascading effect on taxes, and brought about transparency in the process. However, maintaining such an extensive IT system is no child’s play.

The Goods and Service Tax Network is responsible for keeping the GST portal up and running. From providing various GST related services to taxpayers to enabling the authorities to track every single GST related transaction, the duties of the GSTN are diverse and varied. Read on to understand the structure of GSTN, its goals, and its values.

Vision and Aim of Goods and Service Tax Network

GSTN aims to be a National Information Utility (NIU) which provides the necessary IT services required for the smooth functioning of GST. The IT services will not just be easily accessible, but the GSTN will work in making the robust structure available at a minimal cost.

The organisation aims to collaborate with various GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs) to create a user-centric GST ecosystem.

Values of GSTN

Centring about inclusiveness, the values of GSTN is having an efficient, and transparent system for the smooth operation of GST. With a collaborative approach, the non-profit, non-government organisation strives towards excellence. Innovation is an essential part of this robust ecosystem, and the organisation is committed towards its continuous development.

Basic Structure of GSTN

GSTN is one of the most successful examples of private-public partnerships. The capital of GSTN is Rs. 10 crores, out of which only 49% is shared by the government. 24.5% of the stakes go to the central government whereas the other 24.5% is shared among the various state governments and the election commission.

The other 51% of the stakes in GSTN are divided such that HDFC, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and NSE Strategic Investment Co have a 10% share each. LIC Housing Finance Ltd has an 11% stake in GSTN. The backend structure for this digital network was developed by Infosys, which now has no share in it.

Functions of GSTN

Having understood the various stakeholders, it is essential to realise the different functions carried out by GSTN. As GST has taken a completely digital path, everything from the gst registration process to preparing of invoices, filing of returns, payments, and refunds is handled by GSTN.

Every year lakhs of taxpayers file their returns in this portal, and billions of invoices are created every month.

Goods and Service Tax Identification Number (GSTIN)

One of the crucial steps taken by the GSTN in keeping the process of GST transparent is the unique GSTIN number that is allocated to each taxpayer post their registration. This fifteen-digit number has the first two digits as the state code followed by the taxpayer’s PAN number and three other figures. GSTN has designed provisions wherein users can opt for a gst number search to get associated details.

Assurance of secured information

The guidelines of GSTN is framed in a manner such that the central government has strategic control over the entire network. With 24.5% stakes, it has higher control over the body than any of the other members.

This gives the central government control over the execution of Special Resolutions and Shareholders Agreement, thereby enabling the protection of confidential information.

Expenditure distribution

Taxpayers do not need to pay any money to use the GST portal. The cost of maintaining the IT infrastructure and the user charges will be borne by the government. The clear guidelines regarding the expenditure distribution have been given in the portal.

The distribution will be in a 50:50 manner wherein the state governments and the central government will each contribute equally to bear the expense. The share of the costs incurred by the state governments will be distributed among the different Indian states in proportion to their number of taxpayers.

Conclusion

The GST portal is one of the most accessed taxation portals in the world. The fact that it can cater to such a huge traffic load regularly is a matter of pride for the nation. Under the leadership of Mr Navin Kumar (IAS Officer, 1975 Batch), the GSTN has steered the way for the smooth functioning of a self-reliant indirect taxation system in the country.

Author Since: Apr 05, 2019

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