THRISSUR: Seven months after the GST rollout, the Union government must admit that technical glitches in the GST software have not been overcome and they should waive penalties on late returns till digital issues are streamlined, experts who attended the National Tax Conference on GST here on Saturday opined.
Deepak K. Bapat, a lawyer at the Mumbai High Court and former state president of Maharashtra Sales Tax Tribunal Bar Association, explained that what was envisaged during the implementation of GST in July last year was an automated GST amount (GSTR3) in the portal after filing GSTR1 (for sales) and GSTR2 (for purchase). However, even after seven months, the system glitches have not been resolved which prompted the officials to come up with an option ‘GSTR3B’ in which the businessmen were made to pay their GST returns by showing the tax summary only by uploading the sales details.
“Due to limitations of the GST software developed by Infosys for which the company won the contract of Rs 1,380 crore, now the officials have kept on hold the filing of purchase details. However, none of the finance officials concerned are paying heed to the issues regarding GST aired by the business community, tax practitioners and expe-rts for communicating the issues with the GST Portal to software developers,” Mr Bapat told this newspaper.
It will take half a year for a full-fledged GST software to be put in place and meanwhile, the Centre needs to set up a forum of all the stakeholders by passing Tax Practitioners Act and get proper feedback on the glitches for rectification, he added.
He also said that rather than separate digital platforms for uploading sales and purchases, the GST software need to combine both for the ease of filing returns.
“The GST was implemented for ease of doing business and for voluntary compliance. It is not to generate more tax revenue. However, with plenty of hurdles in filing the tax due to software issues, it has given out a wrong message that GST is more complicated than VAT and tax evasion is possible as there are several digital glitches. The closure of check-posts by the state government soon after the implementation of GST led to heavy evasion of tax on inter-state trading of goods,” Dr N. Ramalingam, associate professor, Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation, said.