GST and Small Businesses: Challenges and Solutions

Hey everyone my name is Ravi! Today, we’re diving into something important for our local businesses – GST, or Goods and Services Tax. We’re calling it “GST and Small Businesses: Tackling Problems for Success.” We want to talk about the challenges our small businesses face with GST and figure out some solutions to make things easier.

You know, small businesses are like the backbone of our neighborhoods. They create jobs and add that special touch to our communities. But when GST came into the picture, things got a bit tricky for them. So, we’re here to know about it.

So, let’s jump in and find some ways to help our local businesses shine in the world of GST!

What is GST?

GST is an indirect tax that was introduced on July 1, 2017, in India. Following the implementation of GST, all other indirect taxes were eliminated in India. This change was significant because India had multiple indirect taxes, and the issue was that each state-imposed taxes on taxpayers at different rates. This meant that states were levying various taxes within their territories, leading to the collection of a higher amount of tax from taxpayers due to the cascading process.

Recognizing this challenge, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi announced the introduction of GST. It was officially launched on July 1, 2017, in India. With the implementation of GST, all previous indirect taxes were abolished, consolidating them into a single indirect tax known as GST in India.

How GST Is Empowering Small and Medium Enterprises?

A. Launching Your New Business with Ease

In the old tax system, if your business operated in different states, you had to register for VAT separately in each state. Dealing with different tax rules in every state made things complicated, and on top of that, business owners had to pay various procedural fees for VAT registration. But with GST, things have become much simpler.

Now, the registration process is centralized, and the rules are the same across all states in the country. All you need to do is fill out a straightforward online form to get your GSTIN (GST Identification Number). Starting and expanding a new business is much more straightforward under the GST regime.

B. All the tax processes become simpler.

The big idea behind introducing GST is to make taxes less complicated. Before, we had a bunch of different taxes from both the central and state governments. It got messy because they all had different rules. With GST, it’s like simplifying things by having one tax for goods and services all over India.

Before, we had different taxes like VAT, purchase tax, and luxury tax, each with its own set of rules. Now, all these taxes are combined into one, making it a lot easier. You only need to file one return. If you’ve spent too much time dealing with all these taxes, the good news is that now it’s simpler to file and pay them using the GSTN portal. So, it’s kind of like a breath of fresh air for those who found the old tax system a bit of a hassle.

Having a single tax also means you’re dealing with fewer tax authorities. In the past, business owners had to handle various tax authorities based on the type of business and transactions they were involved in. With GST, you can be certain that the relevant authority is either the Central government or the State government. This simplifies things because you don’t have to juggle multiple authorities, making it easier for businesses to navigate the tax landscape.

C. Reduced cost of logistics

The way taxes work now has caused many problems, especially for transportation. Imagine long lines at checkpoints and entry points between states, making trucks sit there for too long. This waiting not only takes up time but also adds extra costs for labor and fuel. Are businesses sending things to other states? They’ve had a tough time with paperwork and paying entry taxes at state borders, making deliveries slower.

Now, with GST, things are changing. The old tax on sales between states is gone, and there’s a new tax called IGST. It’s a mix of CGST and SGST, and the Central Government takes care of collecting it. The cool part? No more annoying border taxes and checkpoints. This means state borders don’t cause as much trouble under GST. The result? Less waiting, lower transportation costs, and faster movement of goods. It’s like giving the green light to more business between states and saving money on truck maintenance.

D. The distinction between goods and services will be eliminated.

In the past, businesses that dealt with both goods and services had to figure out VAT and service taxes separately. GST makes things easier by getting rid of the difference between goods and services. Now, the tax is calculated for the overall total, not for each individual product or service. This is good news for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) because they can now get tax benefits when buying input goods and services, such as imports, interstate and local purchases, and telephone services.

Right now, every invoice has a long and confusing list of taxes for the goods and services in the deal. With GST, invoicing becomes simpler because you only need to mention one tax rate. This change is a win for businesses, making the whole tax thing less complicated and more straightforward.

E.  Increased threshold limits for new businesses.

In the current system, businesses with a decent yearly income (Rs.5 lakh in some states and Rs.10 lakh in others) are required to register and pay VAT. But with GST, this duty is removed for many businesses. Now, a business doesn’t have to register or pay if its yearly turnover is less than Rs.20 lakh (Rs.10 lakh in North Eastern states).

Additionally, for businesses with turnover between Rs.20-Rs.50 lakh, there’s the composition scheme. This means they pay GST at a lower rate. This change is meant to have a positive impact on businesses, making things easier for those with smaller turnovers and offering reduced tax rates for those in the Rs.20-Rs.50 lakh bracket.

F. Limitations of GST

Even though GST comes with lots of benefits, small businesses might feel unsure about switching to it and adjusting to the new tax system quickly. They might worry about having to spend more on following the rules and dealing with lots of paperwork. Let’s look at a couple of downsides of GST that could impact small businesses.

Negative impact of GST on Small and Medium Enterprises?

A. Pan-India Business Multi-Enrollment Businesses.

In the new system, a business needs to sign up online for GST in every state where it sells goods. For instance, if your business operates in 5 states, you’ll need to get GST registration in all those states to run your business smoothly. Since the whole registration happens online, small business owners who aren’t used to working online might find this change a bit challenging.

B. Returns must be filed every month.

With GST, you need to do around 36 returns in a year. Handling these returns means you have to organize your financial records every month, which can take some time. Plus, until you’ve submitted all the right information on time, you can’t get your refunds, and your customers can’t claim tax credit for what they bought from you. If you miss even one return, there’s a penalty of Rs.100/- for each day you miss, and your good standing on the GSTN portal goes down.

C. Registration is mandatory for e-commerce suppliers and operators.

For e-commerce businesses, it’s important to register under GST regardless of their annual turnover. Unlike other types of businesses, e-commerce firms won’t get exemptions based on their turnover or benefit from the Composition Scheme, which allows filing tax returns quarterly and paying taxes at a lower rate.

Moreover, e-commerce firms must register for GST in every state where they supply goods. This means they need to sign up for GST separately in each state where they do business.

In a nutshell, GST makes the whole tax filing and payment process simpler. It’s set to boost competition among SMEs by bringing the Indian market together. If you stay ahead of the game and handle your GST compliance measures in advance, you can reduce the possible drawbacks of the new system on your business. Looking ahead, GST is anticipated to bring positive changes to SMEs and contribute to the overall growth of the Indian economy.

Impact on GST in

  1. Traders
  2. Manufacturer
  3. Services Providers
  4. Consumers
  5. Central Government
  6. State Government
  7. Agriculture
StakeholdersPositive ImpactChallenges
TradersReduced cascading effect of taxesAdaptation to new filing systems and compliance
ManufacturerStreamlined supply chainInitial adjustments to new compliance procedures
Service ProvidersStandardization of tax rates across statesAdaptation to new filing systems, potential changes
ConsumersPotentially lower prices due to reduced tax burdenInitial adjustments to changes in pricing, short-term
Central GovernmentStreamlined tax collection, improved complianceInitial implementation costs, managing the transition
State GovernmentEnhanced revenue efficiency, reduced tax evasionPotential short-term revenue losses, adaptation
AgriculturePotentially reduced input costs, streamlining of supply chainsAdaptation to new taxation methods, potential impact on crop prices
Impact on GST