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India: Government now owns GST network

November 13, 2018

Source: www.india.gov.in

With the onset of the new single uniform tax process which has subsumed a number of previous multiple tax regimes including excise duty, additional excise duty, service tax, value added tax, sales tax, octroi, luxury tax, etc. Goods and Services Tax (hereinafter referred to as “GST”) is a single tax on the supply of goods and services. It is essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage. The final consumer will thus bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain, with set¬off benefits at all the previous stages.

Dual system of GST allows imposition of levies on goods and services. The collection of GST by Centre is covered under Central Goods and Services Tax (hereinafter referred to as “CGST”), while the States levy and collect the tax in accordance to the State Goods and Services Tax (hereinafter referred to as “SGST”).

The GST Network

GST Network (hereinafter referred to as “GSTN”) is a not for profit company established under the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. It has been set up primarily to provide information technology infrastructure and services to the Central and State Governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). With the objective of providing a user interface shared with the Government, GSTN works to capture, processing and exchange of information amongst the stakeholders with view to ensure effective enforcement of GST laws.

New approach…

Uptil now the ownership stakes GSTN has been non-Government private limited company whereunder Centre and the states together held 49% interests. However, the Government on September 26, 2018 cleared a proposal to convert GSTN into a government-owned company. [1]

The new modification in the ownership orientation of GSTN aims to permit the Centre to own a 50% stake in the GST Network and the remainder will be held by the states on a pro-rata basis in the new entity.

The former structure of GSTN had been allowing majority shareholding to vest in the private sector expecting it to provide flexibility in its hiring and operational freedom. Faced widespread criticism after the portal crashed several times and businesses found it difficult to file returns, the Government evaluated for the need for transformation in the organizational setup and acquisition of the control of GSTN to forbid any failure of its purpose and goals. This modification in is expected to yield better result in terms of facilitation of compliance towards the novel taxation laws.

[1] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/cabinet-clears-proposal-to-convert-gstn-into-government-entity/articleshow/65965553.cms

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