For the taxpayers' convenience, the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) has announced the launch of its Offline Tool, where data on invoices (business to business), exports and supplies to consumers that are required to create GSTR-1 (Outward Supply Return), can be entered in an excel sheet without being connected to the Internet.
Addressing a meeting with the GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs) on Saturday, the GSTN revealed that taxpayers using the Offline Tool will not require the services of any GSP. Similarly, those having small number of business to business invoices, like retailers and small traders, can do the data entry on portal itself and will not require the services of GSPs.
At desired interval, the tool can be run to upload all such data on the portal. Only while uploading the data on GST portal, Internet connectivity will be required.
The Offline Tool will be provided free of cost and taxpayers will be able to download it from the GST portal from last week of June.
GSTN will release the Excel format, in which businesses will start maintaining the data from July 1 for using the free offline tool for uploading the invoice and other return data.
Chaired in the presence of Arun Goyal, Additional Secretary, GST Security Council, the GSTN Chairman, during the meeting, presented the timelines of the release of updated specifications of APIs for the new GSTR forms that are to be applicable from July 1.
The API specifications will be released in staggered manner for all the GSPs and their partner ASPs so that they can study and analyse the same for making changes in their software developed on old design of returns.
The GSTN will also make available live APIs on the sandbox for testing of the codes that the GSPs will modify.
The requirement of the GSPs being secure and ensuring security of the GST system was also stressed during the meeting. GSPs were advised to conduct system audits as per the prevailing ISO standard on security from one of the auditors on the panel of CERT-IN before they connect with and start pushing data into the GST System.
The GSTN also highlighted the need for the GSPs to constantly monitor the GSP ecosystem webpage on the GSTN webpage for all relevant updates and guidelines.