GST Council may consider pan-India rollout of biometric-based authentication for registration: CBIC

New Delhi: The GST Council may take up a proposal to make biometric-based Aadhaar authentication mandatory pan-India for suspicious persons, seeking GST registration, CBIC chief Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said on Friday. Currently, two states — Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh — and the Union Territory of Puducherry have launched Aadhaar authentication of taxpayers on a pilot basis.

“That is giving encouraging results. The number of (registration) applications has come down in Gujarat. That is an indication that with these measures, the people who were using other’s identities to create fake ITC firms, are now in check.

“Going by the encouraging results, it seems now more and more states will opt for it or it can be made uniformly applicable to all the states because ultimately it is the revenue which is impacted by fake registrations,” Agarwal told PTI in an interview.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) authorities have so far been using OTP-based Aadhaar authentication to establish the identity of the applicants, seeking registration.

However, with instances coming to light wherein other people’s identity was misused to create bogus firms for claiming input tax credit (ITC), the CBIC had decided to move towards biometric authentication under which in certain suspicious cases, the person seeking registration will be asked to go to an Aadhaar centre to have his biometrics verified.

“The call (on all states launching Aadhaar-based authentication) has to be taken by the GST Council. Presently, no such proposal has gone to Council but in future, there may be a proposal to GST Council to take a view on it,” Agarwal said.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) chief said the department has recently launched a concerted drive against the masterminds of syndicates, which are seeding fake ITCs.

“Certain policy measures have been taken up to tighten the registration process. Now, before registration, we are doing a risk assessment and accordingly, the applicants are now marked for physical verification,” he said.

Since the launch of GST on July 1, 2017, tax officers have detected fake ITC of Rs 1.42 lakh crore and recovered Rs 13,000 crore. As many as 1,350 people have been arrested for defrauding the exchequer.

Agarwal said the tax officers are exchanging data with a lot of other government agencies, including the Income Tax Department, which has led to the identification of potential GST taxpayers.

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