The Goods and Services Network (GSTN) has permitted over 1,700 tax officers from different states and union territories (UTs) to work from home with the help of a secure virtual private network (VPN) facility during the lockdown period. GSTN is the IT backbone of GST managed by tech-giant Infosys.
Tax officers working from home can now process refund applications, registration applications, appeal, audit, assessment, etc.
"The GSTN has enabled tax officers of different states and Union Territories (UTs) to access their offices during the lockdown. The company is providing secured access to the office network on request," GSTN said in a release on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the IT portal also stated in the release that officers have processed over 10,000 new registrations and about 8,000 refund applications in the first 10 days of lockdown until April 3, working through Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Until March 31, GSTN had enabled 1,748 tax officers from 18 states/UTs to access the office network through VPN.
This is in addition to the three hill states which are already connected to the GST system using VPN.
"A total of 20,273 registration-related cases were processed during the first 10 days of lockdown, i.e. from March 25 to April 3, 2020. This includes 10,077 cases of new registration, 3,377 cases of core amendment, 3,784 cases of cancellation by application, 1,966 cases of cancellation by suo moto and 1,069 cases of revocation," GSTN said.
"Similarly, 7,876 cases of refund were also processed during the period," it added.
The government announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, beginning March 25, to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Apart from 1.23 crore taxpayers, GSTN provides technology services to 29 states/UTs for implementation of GST.
For these states and UTs, GSTN provides back-office applications like processing of registration application, processing of refund applications, audit, assessment, appeal, among others, for all their tax officers, which is different from the front-end interface used by the taxpayer -- GST portal.
Soon after the lockdown was announced, GSTN offered secured access to all these states to enable their officers to work remotely.
"VPN is helping officers avoid the backlog, which could have happened if the cases were not processed during the lockdown. With the provision of auto-approval of applications, if not processed by the tax officer in a time-bound manner, the officers want them to do so manually to avoid any future complications," GSTN said.