GST was introduced on 1st July 2017 amid many debates and skepticism. It replaced 17 existing local & central taxes and gave freedom from their cascading effect.
But even after three years of the introduction, every now and then, some issue racks up and create a problem for taxpayers and businesses.
The same story repeated after the GST council, in its 39th meeting held on 14th March 2020 decided to introduce Aadhaar authentication for new taxpayers from 21st August 2020.
The purpose of Aadhaar authentication is to enhance the ease of doing business for genuine customers.
A person opting for Aadhaar authentication will get an authentication link on their email and phone number.
He/she will have to verify their Aadhaar through this link. The applicant will get the registration within three days of the application if no issue is raised and no notice is issued.
There will be no need for Physical verification.
All merry and bright, right? Wrong! Let’s see what the issue is.
Problem with Aadhaar authentication
Initially, GST application process required to enter the same email id AND mobile number that is linked with Aadhaar! Two separate authentication links will be generated, and the applicant will have to verify them separately!
Moreover, those who don’t opt for Aadhaar authentication can get their GST number only after physical verification of the principal place of business by concerned GST officials.
This can take up to 21 working days!
Now, in the nation where lakhs of people don’t even have a precise birth date on their Aadhaar card, how can we expect they have a verified email id and mobile number! Any attempt made by the applicants showed them the error message “OTP flooding error!”
Moreover, to update the mobile number and email id in Aadhaar, it’s mandatory to visit the Aadhaar help center as this needs biometric verification.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost every center is either closed or does not have slots for an appointment.
Visiting the Aadhaar center can be risky, especially for those having the co-morbid condition.
On one hand, the government is urging people to avoid crowded places as much as possible, on the other hand, to get GST registration, you need to visit the Aadhaar help center if your mobile number and email id are not verified
As usual, a step taken with good intention backfired due to poor implementation and poor choice of timing.
This is nothing new for the GST regime and council!
A sigh of relief!
After receiving numerous complaints on their twitter handle and official email, the GST council finally realized its mistake.
Now the technical team of GST has corrected this issue, and it’s possible to do your Aadhaar verification using an OTP from either your Aadhaar linked mobile number or Aadhaar linked email id!
Now, the question remains for those who opt for the GST application without Aadhaar authentication. There is no clarification regarding them, and as of now, they will have to wait for a minimum of 21 days!
There is no doubt that this step had been taken to enhance the ease of doing business for the new taxpayers and aspiring business owners.
But what the GST council needs to understand is, there are some basic flaws in our legal system.
Without correcting these flaws and errors, it is useless to introduce new features and new rules.
Let’s hope they don’t repeat such errors in judgement!
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