New Delhi: At midnight today India will roll back the old and roll out the new taxation system - the Goods and Service Tax or GST. While the GST is all set to receive a red carpet welcome at Parliament's Central Hall, it hasn't warmed the hearts of consumers or that of the traders. The overhaul of the new tax system though has left many clueless and confused, it offers business opportunities for software solution providers, tax consultants and IT companies.
All transactions under GST - registration, filing returns and paying taxes will now move to an online platform. From July 1, tax payers will have to adopt an online interface to interact with the tax authorities and move their operations onto a digital space. To aid that transition, the government has created a GST-Network (Goods and Services Tax Network) a company that has created and maintains the IT framework for GST. The GSTN has selected a managed service provider (MSP), Infosys and 34 GSTN Suvidha Providers (GSPs) that feature accounting firms and technology companies.
The GSPs will provide innovative and convenient methods to taxpayers and stakeholders to interact with the GST systems from registration of entity, uploading of invoice details to filing of returns.
"Imagine the number of people that will log on to the GST system at the same time, so third party service providers have been roped in to develop applications to provide GST solutions," says Akash Nangia, Director SISL Infotech - one among the 34 suvidha providers. The role of GSPs is to act as facilitators for uploading invoices and returns.
At the offices of SISL Infotech in RK Puram and Gurgaon, Tax consultants and IT specialists have been working round the clock answering queries and helping people register for their GST number.
Saahil Bector, a Charter Accountant says, "we have small scale entrepreneurs, traders and big business call us with queries such as which tax slam will they fall under, how many times they have to file returns and so on. Most traders are apprehensive about the GST and question whether their profit margins will reduce."
But it isn't just the compliance which has created a sense of chaos. The technical aspect of an online taxation system has become a major reason of worry for traders reliant on traditional methods. Arun Aggarwal, a 61-year-old cloth trader from Surat calls in. "I am only familiar with mails and Facebook, how will I move over to this digital system and cope with the losses while I get familiarised to it?"
The IT staff at GSPs say they will form the bridge between the GSTN and the tax payer.
"It is as easy as using social media and we are her to answer all queries and take you through the process in an user-friendly manner," says Shrikanta Mahapatra, Senior Technical Head.