Ans. Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is a nonprofit
non-government company, which will provide
shared IT infrastructure and service to both central
and state governments including tax payers and other
stakeholders. The Frontend services of registration,
Returns and payments to all taxpayers will be provided by
GSTN. It will be the interface between the government and the taxpayers.
The GST System Project is a unique and complex
IT initiative. It is unique as it seeks, for the first time to
establish a uniform interface for the tax payer and a
common and shared IT infrastructure between the Centre
and States. Currently, the Centre and State indirect tax
administrations work under different laws, regulations,
procedures and formats and consequently the IT systems
work as independent sites. Integrating them for GST
implementation would be complex since it would involve
integrating the entire indirect tax ecosystem so as to
bring all the tax administrations (Centre, State and Union
Territories) to the same level of IT maturity with uniform
formats and interfaces for taxpayers and other external
stakeholders. Besides, GST being a destination based tax,
the inter- state trade of goods and services (IGST) would
need a robust settlement mechanism amongst the States
and the Centre. This is possible only when there is a strong
IT Infrastructure and Service back bone which enables
capture, processing and exchange of information amongst
the stakeholders (including taxpayers, States and Central
Government, Bank and RBI)
This aspect was discussed in the 4th meeting of 2010
of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers
held on 21/7/2010. In the said meeting the EC approved
creation of an ‘Empowered Group on IT Infrastructure
for GST’ (referred as EG) under the chairmanship of
Dr. Nandan Nilekani along with Additional Secretary
(Rev), Member (B&C) CBEC, DG (Systems), CBEC, FA
Ministry of Finance, Member Secretary EC and five state
commissioners of Trade Taxes (Maharashtra, Assam,
Karnataka, West Bengal and Gujarat). The Group was
mandated to suggest, inter alia, the modalities for
setting up a National Information Utility (NIU/ SPV)
for implementing the Common Portal to be called GST
Network (GSTN) and recommend the structure and terms
of reference for the NIU/ SPV, detailed implementation
strategy and the road map for its creation in addition to
other items like training, outreach etc.
In March 2010, TAGUP constituted by the Ministry of
Finance had recommended that National Information
Utilities should be set up as private companies with a
public purpose for implementation of large and complex
Government IT projects including GST. Mandate of TAGUP
was to examine the technological and systemic issues
relating to the various IT projects such as GST, TIN, NPS,
The EG had seven meetings between 2nd August 2010
and 8th August 2011 to discuss the modalities. After due
deliberations, the EG recommended creation of a Special
Purpose Vehicle for implementing the GST System Project.
To enable efficient and reliable provision of services in a
demanding environment, the EG recommended a non-
Government structure for the GSTN SPV with Government
equity of 49% (Centre – 24.5% and States – 24.5%) after
considering key parameters such as independence of
management, strategic control of Government, flexibility
in organizational structure, agility in decision making and
ability to hire and retain competent human resources.
In view of the sensitivity of the role of GSTN and the
information that would be available with it, the EG also
considered the issue of strategic control of Government
over GSTN. The Group recommended that strategic control
of the Government over the SPV should be ensured through
measures such as composition of the Board, mechanisms of
Special Resolution and Shareholders Agreement, induction
of Government officers on deputation, and agreements
between GSTN SPV and Governments. Also, the shareholding
pattern would ensure that the Centre individually and
States collectively are the largest stakeholders at 24.5%
each. In combination, the Government shareholding at 49%
would far exceed that of any single private institution.
EG also brought out the need to have technology
specification to run this company so that there is 100 percent
matching of returns. The business knowledge resides with
the officials of Government of India and States. However,
professionals with sophisticated technology knowledge will
be required to run this company independently, similar to
NSDL which is working professionally and independently.
EG also recommended a non-government company as that
will have operational freedom.
These recommendations were presented before the
Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers in its
3rd meeting of 2011 held on 19th August 2011 and in the
4th meeting of 2011 of the EC held on 14th Oct 2011. The
proposal of the EG on IT infrastructure for GST regarding
GSTN and formation of a non-profit section 25 company
with the strategic control with the Government were
approved by the Empowered Committee of State Finance
Ministers (EC) in its meeting held on14.10.11.
The note of Department of Revenue for setting up a Special
Purpose Vehicle to be called Goods and Services Tax
Network on the lines mentioned above was considered by
the Union Cabinet on 12th April 2012 and approved. The
Union cabinet also approved the following:
i. Suitable and willing non-government institutions
will be identified and firmed up by the Ministry
of Finance to invest in GSTN-SPV prior to its
ii. The strategic control of the Government over
the SPV would be ensured through measures
such as composition of the Board, mechanisms
of Special Resolution and Shareholders
Agreement, induction of Government officers on
deputation, and agreements between GSTN SPV
iii. The Board of Directors of GSTN SPV would
comprise 14 Directors with 3 Directors from
the Centre, 3 from the States, a Chairman of the
Board of Directors appointed through a joint
approval mechanism of Centre and States, 3
Directors from private equity stake holders, 3
independent Directors who would be persons of
eminence and a CEO of the GSTN SPV selected
through an open selection process.
iv. Relaxation in relevant rules to enable deputation
of Government officers to the GSTN SPV for
exercise of strategic control and for bringing in
necessary domain expertise.
v. GSTN SPV would have a self- sustaining revenue
model, where it would be able to levy user
charges on the tax payers and the tax authorities
vi. GSTN SPV to be the exclusive national agency
responsible for delivering integrated indirect
Tax related services involving multiple tax
authorities. Accordingly, any other service
provider seeking to deliver similar integrated
services would be required to enter into a formal
arrangement with GSTN SPV for the services.
vii. A one- time non- recurring Grant- in aid of Rs.
315 crore from the Central Government towards
expenditure for the initial setting up and
functioning of the SPV for a three year period
In compliance of the Cabinet decision, GST Network was
registered as a not-for-profit, private limited company
under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 with the
following equity structure:
Central Govt 24.5%
State Govts 24.5%
HDFC Bank 10%
ICICI Bank 10%
NSE Strategic Investment Co 10%
LIC Housing Finance Ltd 11%
The GSTN in its current form was created after taking
after approval of Empowered Committee of State Finance
Ministers and Union Government after due deliberations
over a long period of time.
Ans. GSTN will render the following services through the
Common GST Portal:
(a) Registration (including existing taxpayer master
migration and issue of PAN based registration number);
(b) Payment management including payment
gateways and integration with banking systems;
(c) Return filing and processing;
(d) Taxpayer management, including account
management, notifications, information, and
(e) Tax authority account and ledger Management;
(f) Computation of settlement (including IGST
settlement) between the Centre and States;
Clearing house for IGST;
(g) Processing and reconciliation of GST on import
and integration with EDI systems of Customs;
(h) MIS including need based information and business intelligence;
(i) Maintenance of interfaces between the Common
GST Portal and tax administration systems;
(j) Provide training to stakeholders;
(k) Provide Analytics and Business Intelligence to tax authorities; and
(l) Carry out research, study best practices and provide training to the stakeholders.
Ans. In GST regime, while taxpayer facing core services
of applying for registration, uploading of invoices, filing of
return, making tax payments shall be hosted by GST System,
all the statutory functions (such as approval of registration,
assessment of return, conducting investigation and audit
etc.) shall be conducted by the tax authorities of States and Central governments.
Thus, the frontend shall be provided by GSTN and the
backend modules shall be developed by states and Central
Government themselves. However 24 states (termed as Model
2 states) have asked GSTN to develop their backend modules
also. The CBEC and rest of the states (Model 1) have decided
to develop and host the back-end modules themselves.
Ans. The application for Registration will be made Online on GST Portal.
Some of the key data like PAN, Business Constitution, Aadhaar, CIN/DIN etc. (as applicable) will be validated online against respective agency i.e. CBDT, UID, MCA etc, thereby ensuring minimum documentation.
The application data, supporting scanned documents shall be sent by GSTN to states/ Centre which in turn shall send the query, if any, approval or rejection intimation and digitally signed registration to GSTN for eventual download by the taxpayer.
Ans. GSTN has engaged M/S Infosys as a single Managed
Service Provider (MSP) for the design, development,
deployment of GST system, including all application
software, tools and Infrastructure and operate & maintain
the same for a period of 5 years from Go-Live.
Ans. The GST portal shall be accessible over Internet (by Taxpayers and their CAs/Tax Advocates etc.) and Intranet by Tax Officials etc. The portal shall be one single common portal for all GST related services e.g.–
i. Tax payer registration (New, surrender, cancelation, etc.);
ii. Invoices upload, auto-drafting of Purchase register of buyer Periodic GST Returns filing;
iii. Tax payment including integration with agency banks;
iv. ITC and Cash Ledger and Liability Register;
v. MIS reporting for tax payers, tax officials and other stakeholders;
vi. BI/Analytics for Tax officials.
Ans. A common GST system will provide linkage to all State/UT Commercial Tax departments, Central Tax authorities, Taxpayers, Banks and other stakeholders.The eco-system consists of all stakeholders starting from taxpayer to tax professional to tax officials to GST portal to Banks to accounting authorities. The diagram given below depicts the whole GST eco-system.
Ans. The GST System is being developed by Infosys, the Managed Service Provider (MSP). The work consists of development of GST Core System, provisioning of required IT infrastructure to host the GST System and running and operating the system for five years.
The proposed GST envisages all filings by taxpayers electronically. To achieve this, the taxpayer will need tools for uploading invoice information, matching of input tax credit (ITC) claims, creation of party-wise ledgers, uploading of returns, payment of taxes, signing of such document with digital signature etc.
The GST System will have a G2B portal for taxpayers to access the GST Systems, however, that would not be the only way for interacting with the GST system as the taxpayer via his choice of third party applications, which will provide all user interfaces and convenience via desktop, mobile, other interfaces, will be able to interact with the GST system. The third party applications will connect with GST system via secure GST system APIs. All such applications are expected to be developed by third party service providers who have been given a generic name, GST Suvidha Provider or GSP.
Taxpayers will interface with GST System via GST system portal or via GSP ecosystem provided by way of applications for activities such as Registration, Tax payments, Returns filing and other information exchange with GST core system. The GSPs will become the user agencies of the GST system APIs and build applications and web portals as alternate interface for the taxpayers.
Ans. The GSP developed Apps will connect with the GST system via secure GST system APIs. Some of the functions of GSP are:
• Development of various apps / interfaces for taxpayer, TRPs of GST system
• Providing other value added services to the taxpayers
The GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs) are envisaged to provide innovative and convenient methods to taxpayers and other stakeholders in interacting with the GST Systems from registration of entity to uploading of invoice details to filing of returns. Thus there will be two sets of interactions, one between the App user and the GSP and the second between the GSP and the GST System.
Ans. A GSP providing tax accounting software will have the advantage of already providing the tax payer with a vast majority of the taxation functionality. It will help the tax payer if the delta process of upload of the invoice/ return and reconciliation of the same is also provided by the GSP. Whereas in case of GST portal, another set of exercise manually or otherwise will have to be done to upload the invoice data or the return. The interface and features exposed by GST portal will be uniform for all taxpayers and might be basic in form and design. On the other hand GSPs are expected to have richer interfaces and features required by specific group (large taxpayers with completely automated financial system,SME with semi-automated system and small size with no system) of taxpayers. Also, by sheer size the GST portal will not be as nimble as that provided by a GSP.
GSPs can come up with application to provide GST filing facility in existing software or develop end-to-end solution for SME and small taxpayer to manage their sale/purchase and GST filing e.g. an offline utility like spread sheet, which taxpayer can fill their invoice details and then upload on GST portal for processing. Similarly, for Tax Consultants (TC), GSPs can provide dashboard to display list of his/her all clients and clicking on a particular client can give TC the snapshot of the actions/ pending actions by client.
GSPs can provide innovative/value added features, which would distinguish them with other GSPs in the market.
Ans. Some of the functions which will be performed by taxpayers through GSTN are:
• Application for registration as taxpayer, and profile management;
• Payment of taxes, including penalties and interest;
• Uploading of Invoice data & filing returns / annual statements;
• Status review of return/tax ledger/cash ledger.
Ans. The officers will be required to use GSTN information at the backend for following functions:
• Approval/rejection for enrollment/registration of taxpayers;
• Tax administration of state tax(Assessment /Audit /Refund / Appeal/ Investigation);
• MIS and other functions.
Ans. No, GSTN will not generate any new identification.
The combination of Supplier’s GSTIN, Invoice no and
Financial year with HSN/SAC Code will make each line unique.
Ans. Yes, GST Portal will have functionality to take invoice
data on any time basis. Earlier one uploads better it is as
it will get reflected to the receiver who can see the same in
his/her purchase register.
Ans. Yes, GSTN will provide spreadsheet (like Microsoft
Excel) like tools free of cost to taxpayers to enable them
to compile invoice data in the same and upload invoice
data in one go. This will be an offline tool which can
be used to inputs invoice data without being online and
then upload the invoice data in one go for few hundred invoices.
Ans. Yes, the GST portal is being designed in such a way
that it can be seen on any smart phone. Thus ledgers like
cash ledger, liability ledger, ITC ledger etc. can be seen on a mobile phone.
Ans. Yes, GSTN will be providing separate user ID and
Password to Tax Professional to enable them to work on
behalf of their clients without asking for their user ID and
passwords. The tax professional will be able to do all the
work on behalf of taxpayers as allowed under GST Law
except final submission, which will be done by the taxpayers
using e-sign (OTP) or Digital Signature Certificate.
Ans. Yes, a taxpayer may choose a different tax professional by simply unselecting it at GSTN portal and delegating to a new tax professional.
Ans. No, the existing taxpayers whose PAN have been
validated from CBDT database will not be required to
apply afresh. They will be issued provisional GSTIN by GST
portal, which will be valid for six months for providing
relevant data as per GST registration form. On completion
of data filing provisional registration will get converted
into regular Registration. Further notification giving
timelines will be issued by respective tax authorities.
Ans. Yes, GSTN is preparing Computer Based Training
materials which have videos embedded into them for each
process to be performed on the GST portal. These will be
put on the GST portal as well as on the website of all tax authorities.
Ans. Yes, all steps are being taken by GSTN to ensure
the confidentiality of personal and business information
furnished by the taxpayers on GST Common Portal. This
will be done by ensuring Role Based Access Control (RBAC)
and encryption of critical data of taxpayers both during
transit and in storage. Only the authorized tax authorities
will be able to see and read the data.
Ans. GST Systems project has incorporated state of art
security framework for data and service security. Besides
high end firewalls, intrusion detection, data encryption
at rest as well as in motion, complete audit trail, tamper
proofing using consistent hashing algorithms, OS and host
hardening etc., GSTN is also establishing a primary and
secondary Security Operations Command & Control center,
which will proactively monitor and protect malicious
attack in real time. GSTN is also ensuring secure coding
practices through continuous scanning of source code to
protect against commonly known and unknown threats.