GSTN, short for Goods and Service Tax Network, is a non-profit non-government company. It provides shared IT infrastructure and service to both central and state governments including taxpayers and other stakeholders. The registration Front end services, Returns, and payments to all taxpayers will be provided by GSTN. In a nutshell, it will be acting as the interface between the government and the taxpayers.
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Structure of GSTN
The GST System Project is one of a kind and complex IT initiative. What makes it unique is the way it seeks for the first time to establish a uniform interface for the taxpayer and a common and shared IT infrastructure between the Centre and States.
Talking about the structure of it, private players have a share of 51% in the GSTN, and the remaining is owned by the government. The authorized capital of the GSTN is Rs. 10 crores (US$1.6 million), out of which the percentage divided equally between the Central and State governments is 49%, and the remaining is with private banks.
Furthermore, the GSTN has also been approved for a non-recurring grant of Rs. 315 crores. This vast and complex technological backend development was taken by Infosys and September 2015.
The GSTN is headed by Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey (Chairman), an Indian Administrative Service servant (1984 batch IAS), along with the CEO of GSTN, Shri Prakash Kumar.
Key Features of the GSTN
National Information Utility
The GST Network has been considered to be a trusted National Information Utility(NIU). What this means primarily is that the network is in charge of providing reliable, strong as well as, seamless IT infrastructure and information passing.
It is partially owned by the Central Government (49%) and the rest by private players (51%) which includes Banks and Financial Institutions
Robust Infrastructure and Complex Operations
The basic function of GSTN is to help taxpayers to register themselves, make tax payments, and claim GST returns to generate business analytics among others. Furthermore, the network is also responsible for calculating and settling the Integrated GST (IGST) along with the Input Tax Credit (ITC). The GST network thus focuses to provide holistic solutions to difficult and exhaustive taxation solutions
A major share of the GST network is owned by the central government as compared to any other individual player. Hence the major chunk of the responsibility for confidentiality as well as the security of the information provided by the taxpayers. The central government will handle the composition of the board, special resolutions mechanism, shareholder’s agreement, and the agreements made between the network and other state governments.
The GST network has provided the taxpayers the options of payment through both online and offline methods.
Online: Online payment can be availed through internet banking. The RBI has allocated certain banks (Agency Banks ) for the same purpose with the authority to collect payments made in favor of GST. The taxpayer will have to make the payment by selecting from a list of the agency banks authorized by RBI to collect the tax. Once selected, the taxpayer needs to login to the respective bank’s online portal and make the payment and download the challan generated for the said payment of GST.
Offline: Taxpayers can also make payments through offline methods. The government has also made the provision of payment of GST offline via “over the counter” payments. You can directly visit the respective bank to make the payment for GST. Bank will further notify the RBI as well as the GST portal to update all the relevant details.
The user charges will be paid solely by the Central Government and the State Governments in equal proportion (i.e. 50:50) on behalf of all users. The state share will be then divided into individual states, according to the number of taxpayers in the state.
Functions of GSTN
The GST Network is basically the front end of the IT ecosystem for taxpayers and thus forms a channel of communication for the government and the business taxpayers online.
The total number of invoices processed by GSTN per month sums up to more than 2 billion and moreover, it also processes the returns for over 65 lakh taxpayers and counting. Here are some of the major key responsibilities that the GST network is in charge of the following:
As mentioned earlier, the GST network is an online portal that forms the interface between the taxpayer looking to register GST under the new taxation laws and the government. GSTN issues the GST Identification Number to the respective taxpayer and files the information with the respective Tax authorities once the registration has been verified.
Delving deeper, the GST network basically tallies the purchase invoices with the sale invoices to check for mismatches and fixes them so that the taxpayers can avail of the benefits of Input Tax Credit.
The services of GSTN includes processing and forwarding the returns to both the central and state tax authorities. The best and the unique thing about GSTN is, there is a unified common return filing for all types of GST i.e. SGST (State GST), CGST (Central GST), IGST (Integrated GST). This, in turn, has eliminated the need for filing multiple returns.
Taxpayer Profile Analysis
When a taxpayer wants to register for GST, all the particular details of the taxpayer are verified, and then it is put forth to the Central as well as the state government tax authorities for approval.
Some Additional Duties of GSTN
Further to managing the basic tax filing and tax returns, there are a few more responsibilities of GSTN that come along with managing taxation, these are as follows:
- Calculation and settlement of IGST (Integrated GST)
- Integrating Banking Network (Agency banks) with tax payment details
- Managing Computation Engine of Input Tax Credit
- Submitting the MIS reports to the Government
How to Apply for GSTN?
To apply for GSTN, first and foremost, you need a valid mobile number, email address, and a PAN for the respective business. You can follow the given steps to register:
- Go to official GST portal – https://www.gst.gov.in/
- Then choose an option for GST Registration and fill in the basic details as requested
- After entering the details, click proceed.