GST is going to change the way of doing business for taxpayers as well as tax officers. Information technology is going to govern things rather than these officers.
The taxpayers and the officer’s interaction will all be through the Online GSTN Ecosystem now. However, that would not be the only way for interacting with the GST system.
GST ecosystem common platform will allow the taxpayer to have a choice of third-party applications, which will provide all user interfaces and convenience via desktops, mobiles, iPads, handhelds, etc. 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.
The basic criterion to become a GSP is that it should be registered in India as a company/firm and engaged in development of software. Many start-ups are in the process of developing services, which once approved by the GSTN and fulfils the conditions laid down by it, can become a bridge between the common portal and taxpayer.
The GSPs will be free to adopt the business models they choose to recover cost of operations from their users and/or through advertisements. As far as the interaction between GSP and the GST System is concerned, the same will be free for the first year of operation and will become chargeable after that.
Since GSP-provided applications will be used by taxpayers for exchanging information with GST Systems, they will be required to get certified from an approved agency. The cost recovery from the second year onwards will be based on each API call made to the GST System and the same will be determined in an open and transparent manner by dividing cost of operation by total number of APIs over a period of time.
It is pertinent to mention that GSTN is a non-profit company. A GSP providing tax accounting software will have the advantage of already providing the taxpayer a vast majority of taxation functionality.