In an effort to streamline the address verification process and ensure the accuracy of address details, the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) in India has recently launched a new feature on the GST Portal. This feature allows taxpayers to geocode their principal place of business address, which essentially means converting the address into geographic coordinates using a mapping tool. The concept of geocoding has been widely adopted by several countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Brazil for taxation purposes.
The purpose of this new feature is to enhance the accuracy of address details in GSTN records and simplify the address location and verification process. This is crucial as accurate address details are essential in determining the applicable GST rates, place of supply rules, and other compliance requirements.
How it Works
Taxpayers can access this functionality on a portal called the FO portal, which allows them to access and update their geocoded addresses. To access this feature, taxpayers need to go to the “Services/Registration” tab on the FO portal. There, they can view the system-generated geocoded address, which is automatically generated based on available data. Taxpayers can then either accept this address or update it to better reflect their situation.
If the system-generated geocoded address is not available for a particular taxpayer, the system will display a blank space, allowing the taxpayer to directly update the geocoded address. Once a taxpayer has accepted or updated their geocoded address on the FO portal, the new information will be saved separately under the “Principal Geocoded” tab.
It's important to note that updating the geocoded address details on the FO portal will not change any existing addresses that are associated with the taxpayer’s account. Instead, it simply provides an additional piece of information that can be used for tax purposes, helping to ensure that the taxpayer’s location is correctly recorded.
Who Can Access this Functionality?
This geocoding functionality is available for various types of taxpayers, including normal taxpayers, composition taxpayers, SEZ units, SEZ developers, Input Service Distributors (ISDs), and casual taxpayers. Additionally, this functionality is available for taxpayers who are currently active, cancelled, or suspended.
Geocoding functionality is being rolled out in phases, and as of now, it is only available to taxpayers registered in Delhi and Haryana. However, it is expected to be fully integrated into the GSTN within the next year or two.
Benefits of Geocoding
The introduction of the geocoding functionality on the GST Portal is a significant development for taxpayers. By allowing taxpayers to geocode their principal place of business address, the GSTN is helping to make the address verification process more efficient and accurate. This will result in fewer errors in determining the applicable GST rates, place of supply rules, and other compliance requirements.
Furthermore, digitalisation in tax technologies like geocoding will ensure accuracy and transparency in the long run. Although geocoding may not be as widely available or accurate in developing countries and regions with limited technological infrastructure, efforts are being made in India to improve geocoding capabilities in these areas through various digital initiatives.
The GSTN's introduction of geocoding functionality on the GST Portal is a significant step forward in streamlining the address verification process and ensuring the accuracy of address details in the GST system. This feature is expected to provide numerous benefits to taxpayers in terms of improved efficiency and accuracy in determining GST rates, place of supply rules, and other compliance requirements. The integration of geocoding functionality in the GSTN is also an important step towards digitalisation in tax technologies, which will ultimately lead to greater accuracy and transparency in the long run.