Ahead of July 1 date, last minute GST migration jitters for Bihar traders | patna | Hindustan Times
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Ahead of July 1 date, last minute GST migration jitters for Bihar traders

Many businessmen in the state fear that the first two months after the proposed roll out of the Goods and services Tax, on July 1, will be tough by way of issues that will need resolution under the new tax regime.

patna Updated: Jun 09, 2017 20:30 IST
Anil Kumar
Fear of the unknown has stricken traders in Bihar, ahead of the proposed July 1 GST roll out.
Fear of the unknown has stricken traders in Bihar, ahead of the proposed July 1 GST roll out. (Representative image)

As the Goods and Services Tax (GST), dubbed the biggest tax reform since independence, nears its proposed July 1 roll out, small traders here fear migration to the new system will be a nightmarish experience during the first couple of quarters, if not for a longer period. 

Given to filing hand written receipts, dealers with an annual turnover of more than Rs 20 lakh will have to register on the GST Network. More than registration and migration issues, they will have to do real-time daily filing of transactions. Monthly returns will replace the old practice of quarterly, six monthly and annual returns. 

“It will definitely be a nightmare for a lot of businessmen dependant on part-time book keepers, who shared their skills for a host of traders and, thus, proved a cost effective proposition,” said Ramavtar Bansal, a dealer, apparently at sea how to factor in the additional cost of employing a full-time accountant. 

Said businessman Sanjay Goenka, “several items and commodities have become taxable. Now all sale invoices have to be uploaded. If there is a mismatch, the system will throw it up. It has to be rectified by 15th of the month and challan paid by 20th. There will be an acute shortage of trained manpower”. 

The challenge will be formidable for the less educated small dealers, who are not computer savvy and operate their businesses in semi-urban or rural pockets of the state. “The provisions for real time upload of transactions and online input credit will prove to be a real challenge for dealers having to contend with power and network issues,” said N K Thakur, vice president, Bihar Chamber of Commerce. 

PHDCCI state head Satyajit Kumar Singh said difficulties might keep cropping up for next two years as all the stakeholders—trade and industry, departments and the banks—are not fully equipped to handle the reforms. “But the destination based tax will benefit the state to the tune of Rs 4000-5000 crore, while consumers will gain from rationalisation of taxes,” he said, adding, “out of the 160 GST compliant countries, 148 have gone through initial hiccups.” 

Yet, the commercial taxes department is leaving no stone unturned to facilitate the smooth migration. “We have set up help desks in every circle, besides organising awareness camps for discussing issues related to transitional provisions, invoicing, e-way bill, returns, payment, migration and input tax credit, with stakeholders,” said Udayan Mishra, deputy commissioner, commercial taxes, north circle, Patna. 

Mishra, who also heads the control room-cum-facilitation centre for resolving migration issues, said “nearly 1.25 lakh VAT registered dealers have come on board. But only 30,000 have secured permanent migration by successfully uploading digital signature. We urge all to avail the last window for migration that will close on June 15. We will assist anyone facing problems.” 

While the GST council has decided tax rates for all goods and services, another meeting is slated for June 11 to discuss various representations from trade bodies and associations for change in tax rates of certain items.

West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra has also raised serious doubts over the preparedness of GSTN for handling large volumes of forms that would flood the digital platform from July 1.