Day 1: Traders grapple with finer points
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Day 1: Traders grapple with finer points of GST; officials say issues sorted out

A complaint from the business circles in Patna was the absence of a declared format for issuing an invoice was the first stumbling block for a majority of traders, given to carrying trade with hand written receipts.

patna Updated: Jul 01, 2017 19:42 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
GST day 1,Bihar roll out,Niggling issues
On the first day of GST roll out in Bihar, traders said there were too many formalities to take care of. (Representative image )

PATNA The morning after the July 1 zero hour switch to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) saw traders in Patna grapple with requirements for making a transition from the phased out Value Added Tax structure to the ‘online’ GST platform.

“The absence of a declared format for issuing an invoice is the first stumbling block for the vast majority of traders, given to carrying trade with hand written receipts”, complained a businessman who runs a shop in the busy New Market of Patna.

The GST mandates for certain entries like separate tax incidence under SGST, CGST, IGST (if goods are to be sold outside the state) and product code, to be made, along with mention of the new GSTIN (the GST tax registration number).

All this is proving to be a long haul for the uniniatiated.

“Finding the correct code of a particular product from the huge list of Harmonized System of Nomenclature (HSN) is a nightmare and cannot be done without a proper software or expert assistance,” says Sumeet Jain, a grocery shop owner, who deals in a vast variety of products, including cosmetics and toiletries.

With news coming in that the centre had deferred e-way bill, those dealing in inter-state businesses are worried about how to ensure the continuation of the supply chain without a break.

“Though the cap for the need for e-way bill for inter-state trade has been raised from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 and for sale-purchase of goods within the state, at Rs 2 lakh, we will still require it,” said Sanjiv Jha, a leading businessman.

However, Udayan Mishra, deputy commissioner in the commerial taxes department, tasked with heading the control room-cum-facilitation centre for resolving migration issues, said there was no cause for concern.

“There is no problem as the commercial taxes department has converted the existing Suvidha form (a kind of road permit under VAT) into e-way bill, which can be downloaded from department’s official website with old user ID and password”, he explained.

About the traders’ anxiety about finding the correct HSN codes, Mishra said there was absolutely no need for businessmen having an annual turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore to file specific product codes.

“For those falling in the Rs 1.5 to Rs 5 crore slab, only two digit code is required, while those with more than Rs 5 crore turnover are required to provide 4-digit code. Such people will, in any case,be having a set-up for meeting compliance requirements”, he explained.

With the ‘biggest tax reform’ becoming the only way forward for carrying out legal trade and mandating registration of all businesses with annual turnover in excess of Rs 20 lakh, those operating in the unorganized sector were the most worried lot for seeking answers for queries related to transitional issues.

The fear of unknown, on Saturday, remained the key cause for anxiety. “What needs to be done with existing stocks? When will returns have to be filed?” are few common questions, said PK Agrawal, president of apex trade body, Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, while sharing members’ concerns.

Mishra, on the other hand, said businessmen had 90 days’ time for declaration of unsold inventory, while the date for filing first return for existing registered dealers had been extended by two months.

But the introduction of provisions like reverse charge for goods purchased from unregistered dealers continues to baffle traders, who also want clarity on the fate of unsold stock within the stipulated time frame of six months.

Gold traders are particularly peeved at the provision that calls for declaration of the name and vehicle description in invoices for inter-state and intra-state movement of goods. “This is risky and dangerous for trade involving precious items,” says Bharat Mehta, general secretary, Patliputra Sarafa Sangh, the representative body of jewellers.

Yet, there is a brighter side to all this, too. Jewellers dealing in business to business (B2B) and business to customer (B2C) trades will have to issue tax invoice only, unlike the earlier requirement for both tax and retail invoices, said Abhik Avtans, assistant commissioner, commercial taxes.

STUMBLING BLOCK Absence of a declared format for issuing an invoice is a major problem for the vast majority of traders, given to carrying trade with hand written receipts


What needs to be done with existing stocks? When will returns have to be filed? These are a few common questions bogging the traders

PK Agrawal, president, Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries

First Published: Jul 01, 2017 17:06 IST