Just five days before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is rolled out, GST Network will on June 25 launch an offline excel sheet format for use by traders and businesses to upload sales data on the GST portal.

Navin Kumar, Chairman of GST-Network, said the GST return forms for all kinds of trade/sales, including composition, ecommerce, non-resident taxable person, would be put up on GSTN website by mid of July.

The GSTN is the IT backbone provider for the new indirect tax regime.

As per the GST law, a return of all sales or trade made in a month have to be filed online by the 10th of the following month. So if GST is rolled out from July 1, the sales data has to be uploaded on GSTN portal by August 10.

"We will release on GSTN website the excel sheet, from where offline tool will take the data, by June 25. It will help taxpayers to know the kind of format in which information is to be given," Kumar told PTI.

In the excel sheet, the businesses would have to give details of transaction, like invoice number, GSTIN of buyer, commodity sold or services given, value of the goods or services sold, the tax incidence and taxes paid.

With regard to the returns, Kumar said the businesses will have to file it only in August.

"All the forms have been prepared, we are in the process of incorporating changes as per the decision taken in the Council. We will make return forms available sometime by middle of July," he said.

Kumar said businesses need not go through GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs) as the offline tool prepared by the GSTN is simple and businesses can save details on it on a daily or weekly basis.

He has asked industry to use the offline tool for the initial 1-2 months of GST rollout for hassle free record keeping of invoice details.

"It is not necessary for businesses to go through GSPs.

We have selected GSPs and brought them in picture because we feel they will be able to help big businesses comply with the provisions and they may provide some additional facilities for the businesses.

"But it is not that if GSPs are not there the businesses will not be able to upload invoices or file returns.

Businesses can still do it, only that they will have to upload the invoices regularly using the offline tool," Kumar said.

He said the offline tool can upload 19,000 invoices data at one go and that takes half a minute.

He said large businesses can continue using their own ERP software for uploading invoices but for the initial couple of months they can use the offline tool.

"If their ERP is not ready they can still do it using the offline tool. And one lakh invoices per day means they have to do it in five instalments… My advice to people is if they have data more than 10,000 or 20,000 they should upload data every week," he said.

Under GST – which will be a single tax in place of multiple central and state levies like excise, service tax and VAT – businesses are required to upload on GSTN portal invoices of their trade every month.