Hacking Into GST Database Can Result in 10-Year Imprisonment
GST Revenue

As per a notification that was released on 4 February, the Ministry of Finance has now declared that the GST database and its related infrastructure dependencies will be installed at GSTN as “protected systems” under the IT Act. Going forward, hacking into the GST database and its concerned infrastructure dependencies which are installed at GSTN could lead to 10-year imprisonment.

Protected systems comprise critical information infrastructure, and their failure could weaken national security, public health, safety, or economy. Additional security will be rendered to the facilities as the data stored on the assets is of national security significance.

The Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) facilities of the Unique Identification Authority of India has already been declared by the government as protected systems under the Act. Access to the system as well as its facilities has been restricted to authorised GSTN employees, selected tax officers of the state government, central government, auditing agencies, accounting authorities, and Union territories.

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The authorised employees of service providers managing GSTN also will be given access.  Here, service providers refer to companies such as Infosys, Tech Mahindra, or a GSTN authorised business partner or third-party vendors.

On the other hand, tax officers from the central as well as the state government will be sharing information about taxpayers to tighten enforcement measures and to check on evasion of GST charges. It has also been decided that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the GST Network, and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) will be sharing this data every quarter to facilitate easy identification and to check on fraud cases.

Due to the delay faced by the state government in receiving the GST compensation payment from the central government because of low revenue collection, the authorities have concluded to strengthen enforcement actions as well as data exchange.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at bhavana.pn@cleartax.in

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