The GST Council on Saturday moved in with fresh checks, including getting information from banks, to plug evasion, while deciding to instruct Infosys to fix technical glitches to the filing system by July. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Centre will explore the possibility of raising money from the markets to help generate funds for states that have been complaining of the shortfall in compensation as several of them have seen less than 14% growth in collections.
A key theme of the meeting was to get Infosys to fix the filing problems that are being encountered by taxpayers for several months. With company executives failing to resolve the issue, the Council took the unprecedented step of asking the software company’s chairman and co-founder Nandan Nilekani to make a presentation, where he was asked to explain what triggers the problems. Sitharaman said the proposal given by Nilekani focused on the incremental transition to a better system and additional requirement for hardware but suggested that the entire process could only be completed by next January, partly due to some supply constraints on account of coronavirus.
The Council is, however, going to ask Infosys to complete the process by July so that the peak load can be enhanced to three lakh users compared to 1.5 lakh at present and more skilled manpower is deployed by the company. Besides, Nilekani would be asked to be personally present at the next three GST Council meetings and make presentation on the progress. The FM said Infosys and Tech Mahindra which handles complaints and generation of ticket number are being asked to coordinate better to ensure that there is no hardship to taxpayers and the government does not have to step in.
A number of new measures such as e-invoice, QR Codes and e-wallet scheme were also deferred along with giving an extended deadline for filing of annual returns by small tax-payers. At its meeting on Saturday, the Council also decided to seek information returns from banks, on the lines of the income tax department, while mandating physical verification and financial KYC of those registering for GST so that tax credits can be released. A number of cases of fake invoices and fly-by-night operators have emerged where taxpayers vanish after claiming refunds. A new feature of ‘know-your-supplier’ is also being introduced for taxpayers so that a buyer will not only get the PAN and GST numbers and address of the supplier but also get to know if it has been filing returns.
A Press Release has been issued in this regard to give effect on the implementation of 39th GST Council Meeting held on March 14, 2020, at New Delhi: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1606433