Overview about GST
Goods and Service Tax was passed by the Parliament on 29th March 2017 by the Goods and Service Tax Act and came into effect on 1st July 2017. It is levied on the amount of goods and services supplied and on every value addition. It is a comprehensive, domestic indirect, multi-stage and destination-based tax.
Being a multistage tax, it is levied on every step of creating and completing a product or value such as:
- Purchase of raw materials
- Production or manufacture
- Warehousing of finished goods
- Selling to wholesalers
- Sale of the product to the retailers
- Selling to the end consumers
GST consists of:
- CGST: Tax levied on intra-state sale collected by Central Government (e.g., a supply within Punjab)
- SGST: Tax levied on an intra-state sale collected by State Government (e.g., a supply within Punjab)
- IGST: Tax levied on inter-state sale collected by Central Government (e.g., Punjab to Haryana)
Before GST, an individual had to pay the following indirect taxes like:
- Central Excise Duty
- Duties of Excise
- Additional Duties of Excise
- Additional Duties of Customs
- Special Additional Duty of Customs
- State VAT
- Central Sales Tax
- Purchase Tax
- Luxury Tax
- Entertainment Tax
- Entry Tax
- Taxes on advertisements
- Taxes on lotteries, betting, and gambling
But CGST, SGST and IGST have replaced all of the above and given peace of mind and better opportunity to the supplier.
Features of GST are:
- This brings rationalization to the indirect structure of Indian taxation.
- This also enhances transparency, efficacy, convenience, and faster implementation and structuring of taxes.
- GSTN – Goods and Services Tax Network has been established as an Income Tax initiative to uniformly monitor and regulate the central and state tax system.
- GST Common Portal has been put in place to help taxpayers register on to it, login with their credentials, and file GST returns or make payments and do a lot more.
- Tax administration functions are back-end by IT systems of CBIC and State Tax Departments.
Besides initiating a robust system of GST and issues pertaining to it, people still face a host of issues for which a helpline desk and a proper system is placed to handle queries, feedback, issues, and grievances which will be discussed here:
Common issues or challenges that a user can face regarding GST:
A few challenges faced by GST taxpayers for which they need assistance from their helpline number – https://services.gst.gov.in/services/HelpandTaxpayer/HelpandTaxpayerfacilities
- Reconciliation in GST – Although reconciliation is not a new idea for taxpayers since they have been doing this since the days of Cat and other indirect taxes, the matching of books of accounts and the GST tax to be paid is mandatory for reconciliation of GST. Although reconciliation in GST is not that easy. The invoice number recorded by the purchaser is different from the seller’s invoice of 2A since both the documents follow different principles. They may have different names and nomenclatures to update and maintain the same. Implementation of providing a hard match is not easy.
- Time taking Refunds in the GST Regime – Although the stipulated time to process 90% refunds in the GST regime is 7 working days as stated during the time of implantation of GST. But the same does not actually happen. Fake invoices, fraudulent practices, misleading information, malpractices to avoid tax and lack of scrutiny results in human interfaces and also involves corruption in the process thus causing a major challenge.
- Several items to be brought under the tag – GST – There are several items that are still not covered under the GST ambit like petroleum products and electricity, but there is a need to include the same to boost the manufacturing process and thus enhance the economy of the country. As of now, there is no mode of comparison between the collections achieved by GST and the other 17 categories of Taxes like Octroi, Vat, luxury and service tax etc. once it was rolled out.
- Lack of immediate assistance– The rules of GST are quite complicated, filling of GST taxes is a challenge and the compliance procedure is extremely tedious, due to which many people look out for immediate assistance through helpline numbers or service portals. It gets difficult for the taxpayer who does not understand the complexities and the terminologies of GST and thus he seeks help which initially was never there to help them.
- Reporting of Harmonized System of Nomenclature – This is an internal coding system which is accepted internationally as well – HSN that is not so important while filing Monthly GSTR 3B but is crucial in filing the annual return GSTR 9. This is a time-consuming process and not complying with the same in the long run may have long-term challenges and repercussions regarding the payment of GST.
- Several offenses and penalties under GST – A CGST or SGST officer has the ability and the right to arrest someone who is constantly failing to pay his taxes properly or who is into fraudulent activities to depict the right GST. The minimum penalty is Rs. 25000 and there are numerous penalties and offenses regarding the illegal depiction of GST.
- Accounting Software – Software required for accounting GST is specifically designed with algorithms and technical mathematics that have the ability to identify and rectify errors regarding the GST filing process thus making it problem-free and convenient. But this may also require technical assistance as this comes a challenge too, to many to choose the best accounting software for GST.
- The role of the Government – The Government especially the Modi Government is making the best possible efforts to find solutions to GST related issues. There is also a possibility of merging the 12% and 18% slabs of GST into one and make a single slab of a possible 15% or 16% of GST thus combing the same. This will further simplify the process.
- Revisiting the law of GST – The law of GST needs to be updated and upgraded on every step looking at the current market conditions and the market trends of business and other supply-related areas. Unnecessary flaws and errors should be removed ad tax filing should be made easier. This will help improve the tax filing and tax collection procedures thus resulting in the overall growth of the economy.
Types of GST Helpline Facilities
A great way that taxpayers can report their tax-related problems and resolve undue issues arising due to GST (Goods and Service Tax) is by connecting to the various helpline portals established by the government. This facility is provided to ensure that people all over the country can avail optimum customer care.
GST helpline initiatives to sort out GST related issues like:
- GST Practitioners
- Saksham Seva
- GST SevaKendras (GSKs)
- CBIC Mitra Help Desk
- GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs)
- Self Service Grievance Redressal Portal of GST
Utilities offered by the above important centers:
- GSTN Help Desk–This helpdesk caters to taxpayers having GST Portal related issues.
- CBIC Mitra Help Desk – “CBIC Mitra Helpdesk” is a National Call Centre that provides 24/7 services to departmental users, dealers, taxpayers, regarding issues concerning CBIC-GST application. GST helpdesk has an email and a national toll-free number to resolve queries.
- ICEGATE Help Desk – This helpdesk caters to queries related to law and procedure under GST and related IT issues. Users can track the status of their complaint/query by calling the helpdesk and quoting the reference number. The caller can escalate the response to the helpdesk manager in case one is not satisfied with the response.
- ICEGATE Help Desk – CBIC’s IT Infrastructure Project is popularly known as Saksham Seva. This efficiently promotes the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and assists in all existing services in customs. Project Saksham uses pre-agreed API or other secure methods of message exchangeables to set up an information exchange mechanism between CBIC and GSTN. Thus, Saksham Seva helps in the following:
- SSO ID/ICEGATE email ID creation and password reset
- Network/hardware related issues
- ICES related issues faced by departmental officers
- GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs) – GST Suvidha Providers helps in evaluating candidates for GSPs depending on their IT capability and financial ability. The main purpose was to deliver the required and expected services to taxpayers, thus, becoming GST compliant as per the new GST regime. Thus, businesses may avail the services of the GSPs as per their individual requirements.
- GST SevaKendras (GSKs) – Many CBIC GST SevaKendras have local centres to cater to local issues in the local language(s). The information along with contact details of each helpdesk is available to taxpayers on the CBIC portal. These SevaKendras are also accessible via the phone, email, or can be visited in person by a taxpayer.
How to connect to the various helpline facilities:
- GST helpline via email
- GST helpline via phone numbers
- GST helpline via the self-service portal
- GST helpline via a professional practitioner
Connecting to the Helpline facilities
Now that we have established four different methods of contacting the customer care facilities offered by the government, let us take a look at how you can get your query resolved with each one of them.
1. GST Helpline via email
To avail GST support, you can avail services for several government departments which are in connection to GST maintenance as well as implementation. Below mentioned are some of the important email addresses which will provide you with prompt responses.
|Helpline: Department of Contact||Email ID|
|ICEGATE Help firstname.lastname@example.org|
|GST Seva Kendra (GSK)||email@example.com|
|GST Help Deskfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs)||email@example.com|
* It is important to note that the services made available through Saksham Seva, also include the ICEGATE email address/SSO ID creation and password resetting, relevant mapping, network issues, hardware issues, etc.
* Also, it is important to note that the GST help desk email ID is slowly being phased out with the new introduction and implementation of the self-service portal.
2. GST Helpline via Phone Numbers
The most preferred and commonly used mode of contact to various authorities relevant to GST is via phone calls. The following mentioned list marks all the important numbers you can choose to connect to for any help for the same.
|Helpline: Department of Contact||Customer Care Numbers (s)|
|ICEGATE Help desk||1800-3010-1000|
|GST Help Desk||0120-4888-999|
|GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs)||As per the location|
* It is important to note that all services available through Saksham Seva include ICEGATE email address/SSO ID creation as well as password reseting, hardware issues, network issues, and mapping.
3. GST Helpline via Self Service Portal
A specialized GST self-service portal has been established especiallyto streamline the methods of addressing GST related grievances. This portal is easy to access through the official goods and service tax portal from the main home page. To further access the GST grievance and tracking portal, you can go to the ‘user services’ tab under the ‘services’ section which is also easily available on the main home page of the following portals:
|Help Portal||Web Address|
|GSTN Help Desk||https://services.gst.gov.in/services/grievance|
|CBIC Self Service||https://cbic-gst.gov.in/cbec-portal-ui/?webticketing|
|ICEGATE Help Desk||https://www.icegate.gov.in/index.html|
|GST Suvidha Centers||https://gstsuvidhacenters.com/|
|GST Seva Kendra||http://www.cbic.gov.in/index|
|Grievance Redressal Portal for GST||https://selfservice.gstsystem.in/|
Once in this section, you can choose from a drop-down list of grievances and submit the same on the page. Once this is done, you will receive a form which you will need to fill up in detail. Name, number, email ID, etc. will be some of the particulars you will need to fill. Uploading supporting documents will aid this process and after due submission, you will receive a ‘grievance number’ which should be saved for future communication. This will also be a trackable number as and when needed on the portal to check the status of your complaint.
It is a self-sufficient portal which is being encouraged by the government for customers. Ranging from a variety of issue-resolving, it also has information on various GST related queries such as how to apply for GST, how to get a refund, how can one appeal.and numerous other solutions.
4. GST Helpline via Professional Practitioner
This is also a very helpful way to seek help regarding GST related problems. Procedures such as GST filing, GST implementation, etc. are readily available online but just in case you are unable to find what you are looking for via the self-service portal or the many customer care numbers, you can choose to hire the services of an officially authorized GST professional. This person can help you clarify doubts and perform the following mentioned actions:
- Filing refund claims on the self-service portal
- Depositing money into the electronic cash ledger
- Giving relevant details of inward and outward supplies
- Filing returns in monthly, quarterly, yearly installments
- Filing final returns
- Filing applications to amend or cancel GST registration
5. GST Grievance Redressal Portal
The GST Council has a self-service Grievance Redressal Portal so that taxpayers and stakeholders can have their complaints addressed. These complaints could be regarding queries, challenges, or ongoing issues that taxpayers may face while working on the GST Portal.
Instead of emailing and directly calling the GST Helpdesk, taxpayers can discuss their concerns, describe issues, and also upload screenshots of challenges faced here for a quick redressal.
Benefits of the Grievance Redressal Portal
The following are the benefits of this service:
- Users can file complaints and raise tickets.
- A fast redressal of grievances by reducing communication between taxpayers and GST Helpdesk.
- Users can check the progress of the complaint via a ticket number.
- They can view comments regarding the solution that is offered.
- Access to relevant FAQs or User Manual Pages.
Procedure to File a Complaint in the Grievance Redressal Portal
Step 1 – Users need to type the keyword in the “Type of Issue/Concern” box.
Step 2 – A list of all possible issues about the entered keyword is displayed.
Step 3 – The user must select the exact issue from the given list.
Step 4 – After selecting the issue, the portal presents FAQs and User Manual Pages regarding the given complaint.
Step 5 – Users can refer to the given information.
Step 6 – In case the issue remains unresolved, he can select the “No, I Want to Lodge My Complaint” button. This will lead to another page where he can fill the exact details of his complaint. Step 7 – Then the Portal will generate a ticket number or reference number for users to check the status of their complaints.
GST Practitioner for Filing Returns
There could be times when the GST Helpdesk is unable to resolve the applicant’s complaint or query. In this case, he can contact a GST Practitioner to help resolve issues like return filing, claiming refunds, etc.
As per section 48 of the CGST Act, a registered person may authorize an eligible person to act as the approved GST practitioner. The approved GST practitioner, who is authorized as per section 48 of the CGST Act as a tax professional to resolve the relevant issues regarding returns. However, the primary responsibility of it all lies with the taxpayer. Thus, an authorized tax practitioner can perform any of the following activities on behalf of the user:
Functions of GST Practitioner
- While filing tax returns, he can fill the details of inward and outward supplies.
- Prepare and file monthly, quarterly, annual or final returns.
- File a claim for a refund.
- Enable deposits as a credit in electronic cash ledger.
- Prepare and file an application to amend or cancel registrations.
- Generate an e-way bill after providing relevant information on the portal.
- Fill details of challan in GST ITC – 04.
- Prepare and file for application or modification of enrollment number under rule 58 of CGST act.
- File an application for payment of taxes under the composition scheme or withdrawal from the same.
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