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The Goods and Services Tax Network – a privately held firm that is tasked with building the IT infrastructure required for the country to transition to GST – is now under scrutiny from the service tax department of CBEC.
The CEO of GSTN received a summons asking them to appear in person or through a representative on 22nd February, along with income tax return forms, balance sheets, and other documentation. The summons also asked for receipts of funds given to GSTN by the Center and the payments made to Infosys for the development of tax-related software.
A spokesperson for GSTN however, refuted claims of any such summons. CBEC itself said that the inquiry was a routine one aimed at deducing the tax liability of the privately held, not-for-profit organisation. The summons has probably been withdrawn and was most likely delivered as an oversight. CBEC is investigating the GSTN’s tax liability post concerns raised by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, and other parties.
However, it may just turn out that GSTN is not liable to pay any tax on the grants it receives as grants disbursed by the government are not taxable unless they directly affect the value of service. The Center has given capital grants to the GSTN so far, for capacity creation and for setting up an IT backbone for the change to GST. At last count, GSTN had a net asset worth Rs. 143 crores, and revenue of Rs. 16.3 crores as of March 31st, 2016.
The deadline for GST rollout has been fixed, and as a business now is the time to take the first steps to becoming GST-ready. This way, when the change comes, you will not be caught off guard! So, what can you do to be prepared for GST? Glad you asked: