The Central Bureau of Excise and Customs released the Model Central and State Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bills in November 2016 after the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 was passed in the Rajya Sabha this year. The Model Central/State GST Bill provides for the levy of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) by the Centre, and State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) by the states. The bill seeks to bring a uniform and harmonized structure for levying taxes. The proposed GST laws aim at providing a facility of setting off taxes payable by manufacturers, retailers and buyers thereby substantially reducing the burden of taxes on all of them. The tax rates will be decided by the GST Council established under the Bill.

The simplification of taxing procedure has been taken a step further, as the Government has introduced a web portal for registration of taxpayers and payment of GST online. Payment of taxes will no longer be a cumbersome process as a single online window has been created for smoothly paying tax dues which were earlier paid under so many different heads. The government’s efforts to induce ease in the process of taxing transactions is appreciable. The web portal can be accessed via www.gst.gov.in. The GSTN Chairman said that they are ‘migrating more than 6.5 million VAT payers, about 2 million service tax payers and about 300 thousand and 400 thousand central excise duty payers to a new portal.’

GSTN, the company structuring the web portal will be establishing 4 data-centers in New Delhi and Bengaluru to ensure that the data is safe and secured.  The tax can be paid via NEFT, Internet Banking and Credit/Debit card. However, over the counter payment are limited to INR10, 000.

Who are to register on this web portal?

The web portal will prima facie be used for payment taxes and tax returns. Being a single transaction window for taxes, all the taxpayers registered under central excise, service tax, state sales tax or VAT (except exclusive liquor dealers if registered under VAT), entry tax, entertainment tax (except levied by the local bodies) and luxury tax will now have to register on the GST portal. Hence, payment of all these taxes will collectively get regulated by this web portal.

Every tax payer is expected to enroll on the GST Portal, for both, Central and State GST. There will be common registration, common return and common Challan for Central and State GST. However, if the taxpayer is operating his business in different states he needs to separately register for each state.

Traders with turnover upto INR 1 million will not have to pay GST. This threshold limit may be reduced for north eastern countries.

The GST ID:

The Government website states that a new PAN card based provisional ID would be created for 8 million taxpayers by January 31, 2017. It would be called GST ID, and would be 15-digit long. This ID would be generated once Parliament passes one last GST related legislation.

Information to be submitted on the Portal:

Before enrolling with the GST Common Portal, one must ensure to have the following information:

  • Provisional ID received from State/ Central Authorities
  • Password received from the State/ Central Authorities
  • Valid E-mail Address
  • Valid Mobile Number
  • Bank Account Number
  • Bank IFSC

The PAN information will be verified on the GST Portal. The Portal will also verify the Mobile number, and E-mail ID by generating a separate one-time password (OTP) for each.

Conclusion:

The nation seems to be eagerly looking forward to welcome these changes, so that the complexities caused due to different taxes such as CST, VAT, excise, and service taxes etc. will be simplified by the next financial year. Even though it is anticipated that the nation will take time for being accustomed to the introduction of these taxing reforms, in the long run it will encourage payment of taxes and discourage parallel economy from thriving.

Readers are suggested to visit the FAQs published by the Government here.