While the passing of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) bill was a much-celebrated accomplishment of the incumbent government, it has managed to transform the scenario for small businesses across the country drastically. The new system promises to score far better regarding transparency and less paperwork. Moreover, it requires far greater compliance as well.
To begin with, the owners of relatively smaller commercial services are finding it considerably difficult to migrate to the freshly released GST format. The primary reason for the same is that they have been unable yet to invest in hardware and software, and are still relying on old-school methods of manual calculations and hand-inscribed account journals painstakingly maintained over the years.
The pressure on these owners has increased manifold owing to the government’s order to have such businesses filed for tax returns in the new GST format by July 1, 2017. This deadline has led to shop-owners frantically rushing from pillar to post to complete all the necessary formalities before the stipulated date.
For small-time establishments which are yet to evolve in the variety of their products and services, or in the size of their clientele, the latest online format poses a major inconvenience. This is due to the need for thorough orientation, a precise understanding of the financial mechanism and greater work regarding employing third parties and agencies to handle the affairs arising for implementing GST. Without comprehensive elucidation in these matters, minor business owners will have no dearth of confusion in uploading documents and submitting them.
For others, the e-way bill, which aims to move goods from one point to another, is proving to be a rigmarole of sorts because of the incessant form-filling. Not only does it have to be filed electronically on a common platform, but there are also multiple times one has to repeat the procedure for various events.
In light of the multiplicity of forms being a bane in India, GST has, at least initially, only fuelled the fire. The shipment of goods has been rendered into a complicated, cumbersome process. Also, because each business will try to prop up their resources on the portal, the traffic on the same will skyrocket, increasing compliance costs.
As though this was not enough, there are now problems arising out of the system of unique e-way bill number (EBN). If one single vehicle carrying many goods is crossing a state boundary, it is subject to scrutiny and detainment by authorities. This remains irrespective of whether the vehicle is merely passing through or intends to halt and unload. Stopping vehicles at state entries and commercial tax checkpoints would delay delivery and cause a loss of revenue for the concerned businesses.
Fortunately, however, tax consultancy experts report that once the nascent conflagration has died down and once business owners grasp the concept of the GST format, problems will be resolved and the system will come back as better and more secure.
So the wait for betterment continues.
LSI keywords: GST format, goods and services bill, e-way bill