No doubt the NDA government in the center brought about remarkable changes in the market and the fiscal policy. One of those includes GST with a strong backup of the digital technology. No one would disagree that this will contribute immensely to the nation building and boosting its economy. Many world economists are lauding the India’s move in this direction. Well, for all such dramatic changes our techno-savvy PM Modi’s relentless dedication and innovation is highly praiseworthy.
But, however, there are “murmurs of dissatisfaction” among the middle-class traders these days. The displeasure expressed by the business community is all about the government’s rigid diktat for the GST filing. The administration is apparently putting the hard squeeze on the middle and upper middle class traders and entrepreneurs to file GST “before 20th of each month”. In case of a delay, the penalty of Rs 50/- per day is slapped which is a huge disappointment. How on earth does the government expect each trader to have the computer knowledge? Most of the small traders have not yet touched the desktop. So, they all rush to the nearby tax professionals to do the job. Just imagine how a few tax experts in the town match up to the countless GST payers. Can ten thousands sick patients be treated by one single doctor in a short span of time? This is totally impractical.
Each tax expert has to file the return for the minimum 300 to 800 clients per month and that number is increasing by leaps and bounds. The traders are required to keep the detail account of all sales and purchases throughout the month for which they have to bear a good deal of incidental expenditures. Many erroneous entries are usually made in the filing of GST, but once the file submitted that can’t be revised. Usually, the last two days of the GST filing is a nightmare. Because the site is clogged due to heavy traffic. Does the government want the small traders being harassed and bugged out thus? Mere imposing the hard regulations will never yield the positive result.
There is another shocker of this government. It has made it mandatory for tax payers to file the income tax return by 31st of July. In case of the delay, the fine of Rs. 5000/- per file is being imposed. This is indeed a cruel imposition that might just bruise the confidence of obedient tax payers. Given the literacy rate and very poor “professionalism” in India, such hard decrees by the government only make the citizens more annoyed than happy. Here I intensely doubt if it is the BJP government that wishes so much hardship upon the public. Is it not trusting 1.25 billion Indians, as touted by our astute PM Modi, who all have been standing for him through thick and thin? I think the finance ministry immediately needs some overhauling for the interest of the general public.
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.
The Goods and Services Tax is a consumption tax that has changed the way India does indirect taxation. The GST was under consideration for a very long time. The tax structure which India had before the advent of the GST was quite complicated and extremely convoluted.
There were many taxes which were administered by a myriad of governing bodies, some going down to the city level. This created a lot of problems for businesses and consumers alike. Not only did businesses have to employ people to figure out and compute the tax, but they also had to figure out who to pay it to.
This created a drag on the economy and took money out of productive uses. All of this changed with the introduction of the GST tax. The GST created a unified tax structure and provided businesses with certainty and transparency.
Simplification of small business was a priority which is why, for example, the Composition Scheme under GST was introduced. This scheme helps small businesses reduce red tape and file more straightforward tax returns.
Some of the main benefits of the Goods and Services Tax system are:
1. Simplification of the Tax Code:
The pre-GST era was characterized by a complex and murky tax structure in which companies had to navigate as best they could. There were many layers of taxes such as VAT, Cess, Central Excise Duty as well as local taxes at the city level, which needed to be paid when a product or service was delivered to the customer.
This has now been simplified with the introduction of the GST. Now companies need to keep track of one single tax. They can now file taxes with a single entity in a secure manner.
2. Ease of Doing Business:
The implementation of GST has brought India up the ease of doing business rankings. Having a convoluted and complex tax structure with the manual filing of taxes creates a massive volume of paperwork.
Not only was there a lot of paperwork, but offline tax filing also created scope for corruption. GST has changed all of that with the introduction of one single tax under a single tax authority. It is now a much more streamlined process which is easier for businesses to navigate.
It is also essential to have a streamlined tax process for attracting foreign investors, so that has helped with Foreign Direct Investment in India.
3. Double Taxation:
Pre-GST, there was a problem of cascading taxation, wherein taxes would be piled on top of each other, leading to double taxation. A lot of the time, businesses and consumers had to pay a tax on top of another tax.
This was because there was no way for businesses to claim an input tax credit for every step of the way. GST has changed that entirely by introducing a system where each every step of production of a product is recorded, so taxes are only added incrementally, and double taxation is avoided.
Also, small businesses faced a daunting task of navigating the complex tax system, and the GST has enabled small businesses to simplify their tax return by introducing the Composition Scheme under GST. This has been a significant benefit of GST.
4. Tax Compliance:
Tax compliance has always been an issue in India, under the older tax system where tax filing was mostly done manually, there was a lot of tax evasion and under-invoicing.
Since there was very little that the government could do to track the production of goods. With the advent of the GST, the way the system is designed, it is much easier to track the production of products through the various invoices uploaded by businesses.
The Input Tax Credit system also incentivizes companies to report the number of goods and services used so that they can claim Input Tax Credit. This has been a positive development for tax collection.
5. Increased Tax Collections:
With increasing tax compliance, there is a potential for increasing tax collections. With the increased tax collection, the government can spend more money on important public services like health, safety, etc.
This is also one of the most important benefits of having a tax system that allows higher rates of compliance.
6. Foreign Investment:
In a globalized world, it is vital to attract capital from around the world. Top companies who want to invest in a country look for stable and transparent tax regimes so that they have regulatory certainty.
The older tax structure was haphazard and under the authority of multiple tax collecting bodies. This created a problem for foreign firms who wanted to invest in the country but had a tough time negotiating the tax landscape of the country.
The GST has completely changed that. The GST is under one central authority and uses the GSTN (Goods and Services Tax Network), which is the information technology service which underpins the whole system.
The GST system is also much more nimble and able to respond to the needs of the market because it is under one single tax authority, the GST Council. This is also an excellent benefit for the country as it doesn’t take a lot of consultation to change the rules in case of adverse market conditions.
In conclusion, there are several benefits to the country as a whole with the implementation of the GST system. Small business is the driving force of the Indian economy, providing a lot of employment. Things like the Composition Scheme under GST has helped simplify the tax filing for small business while maintaining compliance.