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GST Data safe with GSTN - don't worry, there's a solution

AUGUST 12, 2020

By Vijay Kumar

GST Data safe with GSTN

THE first day of August 2020 brought in tremendous tension for taxpayers and tax consultants. On that fateful day, they found that the July 2017 return was missing from the GST Portal. Worried taxpayers and consultants ran helter-skelter trying to view or download the missing mysterious return. Nobody had an answer or knew the way.

Social media fired up with frustrated messages.

One of the first messages read, "July 17 return data has been removed from the GST portal; not able to view or download any return related data for the month of July 17."

A Government sympathiser commented, "How will the system work in case data is kept on adding without any limit? Some old data has to go to the history." But will history be on record somewhere?

Another observed, "It will progressively disappear I guess month-wise". What is progressive in disappearance?

"But Sir, GSTN should inform this to public", said the frustrated taxpayer. Why? Asked another. Since, when did you start believing that they are responsible?

Another concerned citizen observed, "All returns are filed by the taxpayers and they should be having them with them." What if I lose them? Lost forever?

The bright spot as observed by an expert was that we should be happy that the data is not available for Government officers also.

What happened? Was the data lost? Is it kept in safe custody somewhere? Why is it not accessible to the taxpayers who filed them? Will the data be available only for three years? Is GSTN mandated/obliged/required/expected to keep the data alive; if so, for how many years? Are they capable of protecting and providing data?

The GSTN reacted on August 3rd with a tweet,

Dear Taxpayer, the team is working to restore the facility to file and view GSTR-3B and GSTR-1 return for July, 2017. We expect it to be available in a day.

So, apparently, the data is safe.

And they rectified the damage. On 6th August GSTN tweeted,

Dear Taxpayers, the facility to view, file and download returns of period July 2017 has been restored on GST portal

Great work - all the agitation was for nothing.

Immediately, somebody tweeted

But still there is no option of JULY 2017 in the drop down list while selecting month for refund application and portal does not allow to proceed further without filing refund application for July 2017-18

And GSTN responded immediately,

Dear Sir, sorry for the inconvenience caused. Our tech team is working on this and it will be implemented in due course.

So, now there is another problem and they will surely find a solution to it as soon as possible.

Why is it that data is playing truant in the portal? It might be a technical snag or lack of storage or both. In any case, you are the loser. In one of our webinars, a former CBIC Chairman stated, "technology failed us". It indeed did. Failure of technology is not uncommon, but frequent and consistent failure is disastrous, more so when they make the taxpayer responsible for all their mistakes.

A video regarding another problem by GSTN (what I mean is video is by GSTN, not problem is by GSTN) states:

Yes, don't worry; there's a solution - which will come in due course.

In the meantime, you are advised to take copies of all your data from the portal by any/all means possible - download, screenshots, pdf, jpg, print with dates clearly marked, each in triplicate stored in different places. Don't worry about cost or time - they will be useful in the inevitable litigation that you will face in future. And don't let the Department know that you have the copies; they will summon you and ask you to produce these copies - failure to do so will be deemed as evidence to evade and not co-operating with investigation.

Maybe the big taxpayers, the corporate giants, can do all these and more, but what about the small players in this game? They are meant to suffer and be at the wrong end of the might of the State.

But don't worry; there's a solution - GSTN knows. God Should Take Notice

Until next week