As the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rolls out from July 1, businesses are busy preparing themselves for the final stages of implementation of the biggest indirect tax reform ever in India. GST is going to have an overall impact on the prices of various commodities, investment opportunities and the business operations, in all sectors of the economy.
For a proper, seamless transition to the GST regime, proactive management of resources and punctual groundwork should be done beforehand. Checklist for every business to ensure Pre-GST readiness before the roll-out date:
GST migration: Complete your GST migration on the government portal to obtain your GSTIN (identification number) and GSTIN username. Ensure the mobile number used during the migration is always handy because you will be getting one time password on this number during return filing.
Technology infrastructure: You would require a personal computer/laptop with internet connectivity and any popular browser like Chrome or Safari
Invoice preparation utility: You would require an invoice generation tool which generates invoices in a GSTN (Goods and Services Tax Network) acceptable format. You may prepare your invoices offline for the entire month and connect to the internet for just five minutes to upload the entire data to the government portal.
Accounting ERP: If your enterprise deals in a large number of invoices, it will be difficult to manually handle everything efficiently. In the GST regime, invoices will have to be generated in a certain format that has been directed by the GST council, furnishing all the relevant details like GSTIN, HSN Code, Tax Rate etc. You should contact an ERP provider to avail their services so that the process of invoice upload is automated.
Excel/spreadsheet software: If your enterprise deals in a small number of invoices, you can handle the compliance processes yourself. You should have the know-how to work on a spreadsheet/excel and create the invoices in a GST-ready format. This will be available on the government website soon.
Service provider: If you wish to ease the compliance burden, then you must avail the services of an Application Service Provider (ASP)/ GST Suvidha Provider (GSP). However, if you are well aware of all the rules and regulations pertaining to GST and have the skills and patience to work on the government portal then the option of filing the GST returns yourself is always open.
Selecting an application service provider
Getting ready for GST is not a difficult task. It just seems to be difficult due to the lack of information/knowledge about it in the public domain. And that is why availing the services of an ASP/GSP becomes all the more important.
There are so many complicated provisions of the law that if an enterprise tries to handle everything on their own, then they are more likely to make mistakes. ASPs will help the businesses understand GST in a better manner so that they will be able to focus on their business rather than tackling GST issues. To prevent any business disruptions in the beginning and ensuring that no business is lost and fool-proof GST compliance is achieved, businesses should definitely choose an ASP.
The government has finalised the GST implementation date and the businesses that fail to comply with the GST laws will definitely be penalised. Now is not the time to be passive and adopt a proactive approach.