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CAG remarks on GST Audit conducted during financial year 2018-19 : Govt. did not try out GST system before rollout

CAG has issued its first Audit report on Goods and Services Tax (GST), prepared on the basis of audits conducted during the year 2018-19. The Report acknowledges the magnitude of the tax reform that GST has been and the efforts of all the stakeholders, including the businesses, in transiting to this system. 

The gaps / shortcomings have been pointed out in the spirit of constructive suggestions to realise the full potential of this major reform.

This report contains four chapters, the details of which have been given below: 

Chapter I gives an overview of the features of GST including the GST returns mechanism and the status of implementation of GST.

This chapter discusses the one significant area viz. the roll out of the simplified tax compliance regime, where the full potential of GST roll out has not been achieved.

Chapter II deals with the analysis of GST revenue of the Government of India, accounting of IGST and the return filing trends.

Chapter III contains the results of our IT Audit of GSTN covering Registration and Payment modules and IGST settlement reports. 

The key findings include the failure to map business rules correctly and the absence of key validations in Registration module, operational deficiencies in payments module and the deficiencies in IGST settlement reports.

Chapter IV contains the results of Compliance audit of GST covering transitional credits, registrations and refunds. 

In the absence of access to GST data, the conclusions in this chapter on compliance audit were perforce based on limited audits carried out in the field.  However, serious systemic deficiencies that need to be addressed by the department are pointed out.

Read Full Audit Report by CAG : CAG Audit Report on GST, 2018-19

As a conclusion CAG said “While acknowledging that GST is a completely new system being developed, in view of its magnitude and pan-India impact, it is necessary that due care is taken both in development and in testing of the system before a rollout.

“The failure to map business rules correctly and the absence of key validations in the rolled out system points to inadequacies in the functioning of GSTN” 

Author: Niranjan Reddy

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