Impact of GST on traders

GST Impact on the Traders in India

The Goods and Services Tax will bring several changes in almost every industry in India. However, the manufacturers and traders will be affected by it the most.

The following are some of the most important changes that the traders will need to wrap their head’s around with:

Goods vs Services

One of the biggest reasons why the current tax regime is so complicated is because there are frequent disputes on certain transactions as to whether they should be categorized as goods or services. Creating invoices is also difficult for the traders for the same reason as two separate rates are charged for goods and services. However, since GST will consider both of these equally and levy the same charge on both, it will make doing business a lot simpler and easier.

Common Market

At present, goods are mostly sold within the state to prevent the CST and entry tax. However, once GST is implemented, traders will be able to sell their products to the farthest corners of the country without worrying about taxes, as there will be no entry tax or CST.

Entry Tax

The business industry has to deal with great losses in the current system because the trucks responsible for goods transportation waste a lot of time at the check-posts. In fact, it has been found that long-distance trucks are parked 60% of the time.

Since GST aims at eliminating the practice of tax collection at the borders, it will benefit the businesses in two ways:

  • They will save money on the border tax.
  • They will be able to deliver goods to their customers faster and thus improve business efficiency and also minimize transportation costs.

Rate of Tax

The GST regime will follow a four-tier tax structure of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, with lower rates for the essential goods and higher rates for the luxury goods. In fact, for the essential items such as food, a zero rate will be levied. On the other hand, luxury items such as tobacco and aerated drinks will be levied an additional cess apart from the base rate itself.

To extend relief to small traders, the Goods and Services Council has also settled for the rates 2%, 1% and 5% for small manufacturers, small traders, and small restaurants, respectively. These entities will come under the new Composition scheme, the eligibility criteria for which is an annual turnover of less than Rs.50 lakhs.

Input Tax Credit

One of the most anticipated reforms of GST is Input Tax Credit which allows the traders to claim the repeat tax paid by them. However, there are a few challenges to this system. For instance, if a trader has paid a repeat tax to their supplier then they can claim a refund (credit) only if the supplier paid the tax themselves. Since there is a chain of vendors, manufacturers, and traders in the process, they all have to comply with the GST law and pay taxes so that the eligible taxpayers can claim input credit.

GST will make invoicing, filing of returns, and registration electronic, and the traders will have to deal with these by entering information through their accounts via the Internet. Although some of the traders and small business owners might not be happy with the implementation of digitization in terms of the same, replacing the traditional way, it’s in their best interest to adapt accordingly.

GST impact on startups and micro enterprises

GST Impact on Micro Enterprises and Startups

The GST law has been in talks for many years, but it’s only now that it’s finally going to be implemented in the nation from July 1. The business industry awaits this day, although there is still a lot of confusion and uncertainty.

Regardless of how everyone feels about the new taxation regime, one thing is for sure that it will be beneficial for the businesses and the consumers both. However, startups and micro-enterprises are going to be at a big advantage because of the following:

Starting Business Made Easy

Under the current system, the troubles for startups and small business owners begin from the first step itself, which is registration. The business owners have to pay a number of visits to the Sales Tax department for VAT registration. Also, if the business has multiple branches in multiple states, then getting VAT registration can easily become a nightmare due to different rules and regulations followed by different states.

GST is here to change all the problems mentioned above. It is a centralized system that will allow aspiring entrepreneurs to register their businesses online. They can also file returns, claim input tax credit, send invoices, etc. through their GST account. Thus, there will be less room for corruption and tax evasion.

One Big Central Market

A mobile phone of a particular model is today sold at a different price depending on which state you buy it from. This is because the rate of VAT and other taxes can vary in different states under the current system. The brick and mortar stores have thus suffered a lot due to this as they are unable to match the prices of the products sold in the states that have lower tax rates.

These businesses don’t only have to compete with other businesses that could afford to offer low prices but also with imports that often cost less due to the lack of cascading effect of taxes. Thus, GST will promote the growth of domestic companies and startups to do business without fearing the businesses based overseas.

For the most part, GST will be helpful for SMEs and startups. However, there will a few challenges too. For starters, businesses that supply both goods and services and have an annual turnover of less than 1.5 crores may have to face compliance issues due to the nature of their business and deal with both state and central administration. Also, the threshold level for GST registration is 10 lakhs for the North-Eastern States and 20 Lakhs for the rest of India. Although this is better from the previous 5 lakhs and 10 lakhs respectively, it will still cause startups and small businesses owners to pay a high tax.

All in all, while there are a few hardships that GST will bring to the table, it will be a welcoming change for the entire business industry nonetheless. The specifics of the law such as exact rate for different product and service categorized, however, will be finalized by the GST council soon.

Types of GSTR, due dates and their applicability

Types of GST Returns, and Their Applicability to your Business

The average taxpayer who runs a business has to deal with a number of taxes. If they are compliant under VAT, Service Tax, etc. then they have to file returns as per the law of their respective state (as these taxes vary from one Indian State to another). Apart from the returns, there are annexures and registers for all these taxes that are to be provided on a monthly, half yearly or yearly basis. Without a doubt, the process is tedious and complicated.

GST aims at making filing the returns easier and simpler as the compliant businessmen will need to file only the GST returns. The GST council has released the details of the all 11 types of returns which are to be filed electronically through the Common Portal. You may need to file only a few of these depending on your business type.

Regular Businesses

If you are a GST compliant business who has to pay the GST in the standard manner then your business will be considered as a regular business.

You will need to file three types of returns on a monthly basis, which are GSTR-1, GSTR-2, and GSTR-3. However, the returns GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 will be automatically created for you using the details from the GSTR-1 return.

The GSTR-1 is to be filed along with the details of the outward supplies made by you in the previous month. These details will result in the auto-population of the inward supplies, i.e. form GSTR-2A. You can confirm these details which will result in the creation of the form GSTR 2.

Once you have provided the details of goods/services bought and sold through the forms GSTR-1 and GSTR-2 respectively, the information will result in the automatic creation of GSTR-3. You can now approve this return or make changes if required.

You can refer to the table below to understand the timelines associated with all the returns:

Return Form Details to be filed Concerned Person Deadline
GSTR-1 Outward supplies that are taxable under GST Registered Taxable Supplier 10th of the next month
GSTR-2 Inward supplies that are taxable under GST Registered Taxable Recipient 15th of the next month
GSTR-3 Monthly GST returns that are based on the details of outward supplies and inward supplies Registered Taxable Person 20th of the next month
GSTR-9 Annual Return Registered Taxable Person 31st December of the next financial year

 

Composition Businesses

The government has issued a Composition Scheme to make GST compliance easier for small businesses. The scheme has various benefits for eligible businesses, such as lower GST tax rate, quarterly tax returns (as opposed to monthly), etc.

If your annual turnover does not exceed Rs. 50 lakhs then you can opt for GST payment under the composition scheme. By doing so, you have to file returns in the following manner:

Return Form Details to be filed Concerned Person Deadline
GSTR-4 Quarterly return for compounding taxable person. Composition Supplier 18th of the next month after each quarter
GSTR-9A Annual return Compounding Taxable Person 31st December of the next financial year

 

Other Businesses

There are a few businesses that are not covered in the previous categories. These belong to non-resident foreign taxable persons, electronic commerce operators, etc. Their returns along with the timelines are given in the table below.

Return Form Details to be filed Concerned Person Deadline
GSTR-5 Return for Non-Resident foreign taxable person Non-Resident Taxable Person 10th of every month
GSTR-6 Return for Input Service Distributor Input Service Distributor 13th of every month
GSTR-7 Return for authorities deducting tax at source. Tax Deductor 10th of every month
GSTR-7 Taxable supplies of an e-commerce operator, and the overall tax collected E-commerce Operator/Tax Collector 10th of every month
How GST Affect the Small Business

How will GST Affect the Small Businesses?

The Goods and Services Tax, which is better known by GST, is being advertised by the government as one of the biggest tax reforms in the history of the Indian economy. However, even though it seems promising with its simplification of the current taxation structure and elimination of double taxes, etc. it is important to know how it’s going to impact the SMEs of India.

Ease of Doing Business

Under the current system, every new business has to get a VAT registration from the sales tax department. Thus, if you are doing business in multiple states then it can be a big hassle to deal with the different registration process and associated fees, etc. of these states. Since the VAT applicable on a certain product can also vary from one state to another, it can also be a problem. So, say if you are selling mobile phones in different states, then it’s possible that you have to sell the same product at a different price depending on the state.

The Goods and Services tax will be the same for every state. Thus, you won’t have to worry about calculating different prices for your products. Plus, GST will also eliminate other indirect taxes such as central sales tax (CST), service tax, etc. Under the GST regime you will only need to pay only one tax for the state you are operating your business in, called SGST (State GST), and one for the central government, called CGST (Central GST).

GST will also allow you to offer your products at lower prices due to the elimination of double taxes. The repeat taxes applied on a product can be claimed by you in the form of Input Tax Credit if you are GST liable.

Preparing for GST

Unless preparation is done in advance, working under the GST regime can become really difficult for you as an SME. Thus, it’s better to get started as soon as possible.

The first thing you must do is ascertain whether you are liable to register for GST or not.

The government has linked the aggregate turnover of a business with the GST liability. So, if your annual turnover is higher than the threshold limit then you have to register for GST.

The aggregate turnover requirement for GST registration is given below:

 

 

Region Aggregate Turnover
Liability to Register Liability for Payment of Tax
North East India Rs 9 Lakhs Rs 10 Lakhs
Rest of India Rs 19 Lakhs Rs 20 Lakhs

 

However, getting your business registered is only the beginning. There are many things you need to make yourself familiar with, such as Input Tax Credit, the filing of returns, and issuing invoices.

Depending on your business you will need to file GST returns on a monthly basis, and also keep a track of your stock and issued invoices to claim input tax credit.

How to Make the Transition Easier?

There is a slew of changes that the GST regime will bring in the current business industry. Dealing with them all can be extremely difficult on your own. Thus, it’s better to hire a good CA or tax consultant.

Another good thing that you can do is subscribe to an invoicing and expense management program that is GST compliant. It will help you create invoices that in line with the GST standards, and keep a track of your inventory and sales.