The Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) has written a stern letter to the software firms that are to help firms file their GST returns — GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs) — asking them to get their act together. “It is observed that the efforts from GSPs need to be ramped up significantly, with the date for the GST rollout nearing,” it said, adding: “We urge all the GSPs to ready their systems so as to be able to integrate successfully with the GST system to perform the functions needed.”
Some of the country’s top software and consulting companies are already GSPs and others are also looking to enrol, but going by GSTN’s missive, the preparation is less than adequate. This will hit SMEs especially since, unlike larger firms, they do not have any systems of their own and rely almost completely on the ability of the GSP to get things right.
Since a host of returns have to be uploaded to the GSTN on a regular basis, it has developed protocols — Application Programming Interface, or API — for how the data is to be uploaded. While GSTN regularly releases the APIs for each set of data — like, say, the sales register of a firm — each GSP needs to upload dummy data so that GSTN can check if the data is being correctly captured.
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Two test drives were conducted by GSTN, one between May 5 and 12 and the second between May 12 and 19. The results of this show which firms uploaded their APIs. While some firms uploaded almost all the APIs in the first round itself, others chose to spread it out — unless APIs were changed by GSTN, a GSP that uploaded an API once didn’t need to do it again. These tests showed that of the 167 solution providers, as many as 69 had not even begun testing the network by uploading APIs.