GRIPPED BY panic over lack of clarity regarding Goods and Services Tax (GST), several traders of the city are in the race to hire accountants who would be doing the financial exercise or book-keeping for them initially. GST would come into force from July 1. Traders said since everything would be digitised and a code is there for every item required to be taxed under different slabs in the GST, many of them have been hiring accountants.
“There are shopkeepers who cannot even afford computers. So forget talk of entering the item code online. Because small shopkeepers are not in a capacity to hire full-time accountants, they are looking for those who can help them part-time,” said Sunil Bansal, general secretary of the Chandigarh Furniture Association.
Bansal added that confusion prevails because every single item in their shop will invite a different tax rate under GST. “Ours is a labour-intensive industry and 85 per cent of the people engaged are from a low-income group and unorganised. Every item in one shop will have a different code. In our furniture business only, steel almirah is under 28 per cent tax while if it is a rack, then it is 18 per cent. Hospital furniture comes under the other slab of 18 per cent while office furniture comes under the other slab of 28 per cent. The entire day we will keep looking for codes. Our traders don’t even know how to operate computers and everything would be generated online.”
President of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, Anil Vohra, said even officials of the taxation department are not clear about certain issues when they ask them. “Nobody knows anything till now, not even the taxation officials. There is utter confusion among everybody. I think this nervousness would end only when one does things practically on Day One,” said Vohra.
Traders said the demand for accountants has gone up ahead of the GST. Stock returns need to be filed every month under the GST.
“The accountant, who would come twice a week, has not come for the last 20 days. When I call him, he says he has got more work because of GST,” said Rajesh Chaudhary, another trader.
Professional chartered accountants are flooded wih queries. Keshav Garg, CA faculty for GST, indirect tax committee of ICAI, said daily he has been getting over 50 calls from traders to help them understand the GST concept. Ahead of GST, traders have been clearing out their old stocks by offering discounts.
Chandigarh furniture traders protest
The Chandigarh Furniture Association on Monday organised a bandh in protest against GST. They said furniture is not a luxury but a necessity for the common man. Yet, on most of the items, the tax is 28 per cent which should be lowered to 12 per cent.
They further said that all kinds of furniture items, be it steel, wooden, iron, glass, plastic, cane, etc. may please be put in one bucket of tax and not separate items.