GST Network reopens for registration

As many as 6.56 million registrations have already been made on the GSTN.
With barely five days left for the roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST), the GST Network (GSTN), a company that provides information technology systems for the GST, reopened registration for assessees on Sunday. 

That was for new assessees not enrolled in the existing tax system — central excise duty, service tax and state-level value added tax — and for tax practitioners such as chartered accountants. Existing assessees which did not apply earlier can also enrol. The system also opened for those to be registered as tax deducted at source (TDS) or tax collected at source (TCS). 

So far as smoothness of registration is concerned, Archit Gupta, chief executive officer (CEO) of Cleartax, that helps assessees register on GSTN, said, “We have an online service for fresh registrations and have received applications form small & medium businesses. So far, we haven’t faced any issues in the registration process for our customers.”

As many as 6.56 million registrations have already been made on the GSTN, which is 81 per cent of the existing 8.01 million registrations.

The new assessees, as well as existing ones, will be given a month’s time to register on the GSTN from Sunday.

Earlier, GSTN was opened in phases since November 16 for existing tax assessees. The GSTN had stopped registrations in between, as it was to transfer data to its own data centre from an earlier hired data centre. The GST portal has already opened two windows for enrolments — first between November 8 and April 30 and then from June 1 to June 15. This is the third window to allow all taxpayers enough time to migrate to the new regime.

Navin Kumar, chairman of GSTN, said, “We started the migration of existing taxpayers in November and wanted to close the process by March. The government however asked us not to close it, as many were still to register. At that time, the number of people coming to the portal fell to a few thousands compared to 200,000 a day (now). But we halted the process briefly, hoping it would trigger more people to come and register when we reopen the window.” Interestingly, there was no law that required them to register as GSTs then; the Bills were passed later. 

“In fact, I am surprised why they came. We asked the tax department to persuade them to come and migrate, so the entire credit goes to CBEC. About six million came in the first instance and then 600,000 more came in the 15 days after that,” he said.

There were 8.01 million registrations in the existing system. Kumar said he wondered why the 1.4 million didn’t come. He believed one factor could be the exemption threshold under VAT for most states is Rs 5 lakh, and is Rs 20 lakh under the GST. Those with a turnover below the threshold have to register if they want to claim input tax credit. 

It is expected not all assessees would migrate to the GSTN portal as, businesses with turnover of up to Rs 5 lakh are currently exempt from VAT. But, if they are supplying to other businesses or if want to pass on credit, then they need to register their business.

The existing assessees were given provisional IDs if they registered with their email ID and mobile numbers. But, for the second stage and final registration, the businesses have to give details of its business, such as the shareholding pattern of business, main place of business, additional place of business, directors and bank account details etc.

Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had cautioned those with provisional IDs not to rush for registration on GSTN, as they had got one month more for registration.

The GST Council has given relaxation for filing of returns. The assessees can file detailed, invoice-based returns by September 5 for the month of July. Had this relaxation not been given, they would have to file these returns by August 10. 

Similarly for August, these returns could be filed by September 20, a relaxation of 10 days. 

Meanwhile, the GSTN released three sets of videos to reach out to assessees and help them register. 

“To help the people register themselves to the new GST portal smoothly, we have released three videos just after the opening of the portal today (Sunday). The videos are an official guide for registration which will ensure a smooth roll out of the regime. The videos have been crafted to help all taxpayers including those who are not well versed with technology to complete their enrolments,” Kumar said.



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