With the government set to roll out Goods and Services Tax (GST) from June 30 midnight, adapting to computerised billing system is the biggest fear being faced by small traders before the implementation of the indirect tax regime, Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders welfare Association (FRTWA) and owner of Roopam and Roopmilan Fashion in Mumbai said.
“Biggest fear is computer adaptability of small traders and knowledge. Traders are used to updating billing manually, now they will have to suddenly file via computers and hence, it will take time … All products need to be updated with barcode facilities,” Shah said.
The “fear of the unknown” is the biggest challenge before the implementation of the GST regime, said Arvind Pradhan, director general, IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The only fear that GST evokes is the fear of the unknown. It is a reform which will reshape the way business is done in India. Of course, there may be a few hiccups, since the businesses will take some time to adapt to the change. Further, filing of returns by traders, especially where harmonised codes are to be entered might require some understanding,” he said.
Mahendra Arya, senior vice president, All India Transport Welfare Association and Member, All India Motor Transport Congress, however, is not apprehensive about GST rollout. “Don’t have any fear as such. We, being service providers, need not register under Reverse Charge Mechanism as clarified by government through Notification No. 5/2017,” Arya said.
On preparations for Goods & Services Tax
Shah said they are participating in regular seminars with experts who are educating on GST issues and solutions. “They are creating awareness among traders and shopkeepers,” he said.
Pradhan said that as a Chamber, they have held a number of workshops and seminars to train the industry about the rules and procedures of GST. “Most of our members are therefore updated and equipped to transition into the new system,” he said. Transporters, however, do not have much to gear up, Arya said, adding that the main job is only to update customers about their status.
On taking help of professionals, GST Suvidha providers
Most traders will engage professionals and take help of GST Suvidha Providers for filing returns under GST. “Everyone needs to take help of some professional initially. Once educated, our account staff will be able to file the returns,” Shah said. The help from GST Suvidha Providers will help in filing of returns initially until taxpayers learn to do on their own. “Some of our members have evinced interest to take the help of GST Suvidha Providers for filing returns. Perhaps, this would help them initially after which they would be able to file such returns themselves,” Pradhan said.
Arya, however, said that they don’t need any such help since they are free from compliances. “However, to understand the nitty gritty of Act and Rules, our associations collectively arrange meetings with direct authorities,” he added.