Hoardings invite people to enrol in GST classes in Laxmi Nagar area of New Delhi.(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)
Hoardings invite people to enrol in GST classes in Laxmi Nagar area of New Delhi.(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)

GST crash courses: Coaching centres to help people grasp new tax concept

Many institutes across New Delhi have come up with certification courses to tutor people in the practical application of GST.
By Manoj Sharma | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 16, 2017 08:01 AM IST

Avinash Gupta, an electronic components dealer at Lajpat Rai market in the Walled City, spent the whole of June trying to figure out the ways in which the newly unveiled Goods and Services Tax (GST) applies to his business. However, when all attempts at comprehension failed, he decided to enrol in a crash course offered by a city-based private institute last week.

“I simply could not understand how factors such as the reverse-credit mechanism, debit note and credit note apply to my business. The government explained only the macro aspect of the GST to traders, but there are many micro factors that I found hard to practise on a day-to-day basis,” said Gupta.

But that’s not an issue anymore. Henry Harvin – the city-based institute that Gupta joined – has now educated him in everything he needs to know. The small-time businessman even received a GST Practitioner certificate upon completion of the course.

“About 500 people have already taken our course,” said Henry Harvin founder Kounal Gupta. “Chartered accountants are not the only ones who approach us. We have traders, lawyers, engineers, doctors…”

The eight-hour GST Master Class, which costs Rs 3,000, includes intensive training in the finer nuances of the new tax regime. The “students” are also given 700 pages of study material to go through.

“Our classes are very interactive. We encourage people to pose queries if there is any confusion,” said Gupta.

Many institutes and individuals across the city have come up with certification courses to tutor people in the practical application of GST. While several offer face-to-face classroom teaching, others provide online education and digitised study material.

The fees for these courses come up to anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 6,000. Bimal Jain, a Delhi-based chartered accountant, visits a studio at Aldine – an educational institute in east Delhi – to offer ‘Live GST lessons’ on weekends.

He claims to have taught around 10,000 people across the country until now.

According to Jain, people running small and medium enterprises are in dire need of some handholding in the present circumstances. “Many businessmen enroll in GST courses run by private institutes because charted accountants understand them better than government officials entrusted with the task of training them,” he said.

Ashok Batra, a faculty member at VG Learning Destination, said many chartered accountants attending GST certification courses have no previous experience in handling cases concerning indirect taxes.

“But now they will be expected by their clients – who used to hire three different professionals for excise, service tax and VAT issues earlier – to deal with GST compliance,” he added.

Institute director Vinod Gupta said that while 7,000 people took their 36-hour GST Made Simple course, only 60% managed to clear it. VG Learning Destination also offers a shorter six-hour programme – GST Ki Pathshala – that caters to businessmen.

Besides certification courses, the country has also seen a glut of GST-related study books emerging in the last two months. “We have tried to convey various concepts of the new tax regime in a language that traders and businessmen can understand,” said Deepak Rao, a charted accountant who has co-authored ‘India GST for Beginners’.

Rao believes courses and books on GST will remain in vogue at least for the next year or two, until people gain a fair understanding of the concepts that govern the tax regime.

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