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New measures by GST portal to serve taxpayers better

With India adjusting to the pandemic and new tax reforms being implemented, the Central Board for Indirect Taxes and Customs and the Goods and Services Tax Network have been keeping busy planning and implementing new measures to better serve taxpayers while improving compliance. Here are the latest updates on the new upgrades on the GST portal and new measures announced by the GST authorities to nip tax fraud in the bud. 

GST portal doubles bandwidth to handle 3 lakh taxpayers 

The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) has upgraded the infrastructure on the GST portal and doubled its original capacity of 1.5 lakh taxpayers to accommodate 3 lakh taxpayers without facing any downtime. This capacity can be easily extended to accommodate up to 5 lakh taxpayers.

The increase in capacity has been in preparation of the expected increase in the volume of visitors on the GST portal now that the Government has relaxed lockdown restrictions and tax deadlines are drawing closer. As per GSTN data, there was a sudden surge in the number of hits on the GST portal at the end of September 2020 as taxpayers lined up to file GSTR-3B returns. 

GST authorities have stated that the GST portal has been upgraded to be future-ready and offer taxpayers a seamless filing experience. Aside from its improved load-bearing capacity, GST authorities have also been conducting stress and performance tests on the GST portal to iron out any kinks in the software. 

AI and data mining technology to help detect GST fraud in real-time 

In a move that will tighten the leash around tax evaders, the Central Board for Indirect Taxes and Customs has announced the use of data mining tools and artificial intelligence technology to curb tax fraud in real-time. Companies who are already on the CBIC’s radar for tax evasion will be blocked from generating and validating e-invoices. In July this year, the CBIC narrowed down on a list of risky companies who were likely to attempt tax fraud.

With the help of data mining and data analytics, the CBIC will be in a position to identify shell companies and bogus invoices issued by these companies and block their access for authenticating e-invoices. This way, they are unable to enter the system or become a part of the input tax credit cycle. 

The new tax reform of e-invoicing which was implemented in October 2020 involves the issue of a unique invoice reference number. Each B2B e-invoice generated by an organization (annual turnover exceeding ₹500 crores) is authenticated by the Invoice registration portal and is a mandatory requirement for furnishing while generating e-way bills and filing monthly GST returns. Previously, companies attempting tax fraud would furnish bogus bills in order to claim ITC. But by employing artificial intelligence tools, the CBIC is expecting to nip tax fraud through fraudulent invoices in the bud. 

With the introduction of new tax reforms like e-invoicing which will determine the validity of all tax and compliance documents like e-way bills and tax returns moving forward, the GSTN expects to see a surge in the number of daily hits on the portal. As such they are taking measures to not only improve taxpayer experience on the portal but also keep fraudulent taxpayers out of the ITC circle. 

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