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GST registration for businesses to reopen on June 25

NEW DELHI:If you have not been able to register on the GST Network within the deadline ending on Thursday, do not panic! There’s one more chance coming your way as the registration for existing excise, service tax and VAT payers will reopen on June 25.

There are about 80 lakh excise, service tax and VAT assessees as present, of which 64.35 lakh have already migrated to the portal of GST Network — the company readying the IT backbone for GST regime.

The window for migration to the GSTN, which opened on June 1, will close tomorrow and during the fortnight, 4.35 lakh taxpayers have enrolled taking the total to 64.35 lakh. However, this is 80 per cent of the existing assessees.

GSTN Chairman Navin Kumar sought to allay concerns of businesses who have not registered so far saying that the tax department is “obligated” to provide them smooth transition into the GST regime but traders should also come forward and complete the registration process by filing up the application form.

“Whosoever wants to do business under GST and wants to migrate, we will provide facility to them even after June 15. From June 25, anyone who is left out now, can come and file information and migrate to GST,” said Kumar.

Registration with the GSTN is necessary for doing business in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime as businesses will have to upload monthly sales data as well as file return forms on this portal.

“People should not panic. If you are left out, you will get another opportunity because the law says anybody who is registered under taxes which are subsumed under GST if they have a valid PAN then they will be given a valid registration.

“So, it is the tax department’s obligation to give them provisional GST registration provided they have PAN. Therefore, even if they miss this window of June 15, they can come back on June 25,” Kumar added.

However, GSTN is prodding taxpayers and has sent emails to over 30 lakh assesses who have not completed their registration process to make them ready by scheduled rollout date of July 1.

When a business registers under GST, it is given a provisional GSTIN. After that, in the second stage, the business has to log in to the GSTN portal and give details of its business, like the main place of business, additional place of business, directors and bank account details.

Thereafter, the business has to verify its registration through digital signature, or by generating electronic verification code (EVC).

Kumar said that of the 64.35 lakh assessees who have migrated into the GSTN portal, about 30 lakh has not completed the second stage of registration since they are having troubles uploading digital signature or getting EVC.

“What we are telling the businesses is if you do not complete the migration process you cannot issue invoices. In the e-mail, we have asked them to complete the registration by filing up the required documents and saving them on the portal. The GSTN will then e-mail them the Application Reference Number (ARN) after June 15,” he said.

Businesses with turnover above Rs 20 lakh has to register with the GSTN. Those with turnover below the threshold too has to register if they want to claim input tax credit.

Kumar said that not all assessees would migrate to the GSTN portal as businesses with turnover of up to Rs 5 lakh are currently exempt from VAT.

Since in GST up to Rs 20 lakh turnover is exempt, so all of the VAT assessees would not migrate to the GSTN. However, if they supplying to other businesses or if they want to pass on credit, then registration of business would be required.

Till April 30, around 60 lakh taxpayers out of total 80 lakh, had migrated to the new payment portal of GSTN. The tally has now gone up to 64.35 lakh.

The process of migration of existing assessees to the GSTN had started in a phased manner from November 2016. The Centre had earlier set March 31 as the migration deadline, which was later extended to April 30.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the IT and other preparedness for the rollout of the GST from July 1 and said it will be “a turning point” in the country’s economy. He had directed the officials that maximum attention be paid to cyber-security in IT systems linked to the GST.

Technology preparedness is an important aspect of the proposed indirect tax regime, as the GSTN would be processing about 300 crore invoices every month.

Source – ET Retail

GST impact: Insurance premium, bank charges to increase

The impending implementation of GST would undoubtedly impact one’s personal finances especially when it comes to financial services, albeit marginally. From the present rate of 15 percent, the GST on banking, insurance and investments such as real estate, mutual funds will see a hike of 3 percent as the GST will now be 18 percent on them.

Let’s see how each of them gets impacted.

GST and Insurance

Primarily, there are three major kinds of life insurance products – Term insurance plans, Ulips and Endowments (including money back). The applicability of service tax (in the current format) on their premium is not similar in all three of them.

The premium paid in life insurance policies represents two portions – risk coverage and savings. The service tax is only on the risk portion of the premium and not on savings portion.

As per the GST rules, the value of services (on which GST is to be imposed) in relation to life insurance business shall be:

(a) The gross premium reduced by the amount allocated for investment, or savings on behalf of the policy holder.

(b) In case of single premium annuity policies, ten per cent of single premium charged from the policy holder.

(c) In all other cases, 25 per cent of the premium in the first year and 12.5 cent of the premium in subsequent years. So, if the premium of an endowment plan is Rs 100, the GST of 18 percent will be applicable on the 25 percent of the premium i.e. on Rs 25, so, Rs 4.5 will be the GST amount.

(d) If the entire premium paid by the policy holder is only towards the risk cover in life insurance such as in term insurance plans, the GST of 18 percent will be on the entire premium.

Therefore, the immediate impact of GST would be the higher outgo (premium plus GST) in term and endowment plans, due to the increase in rate of tax on insurance following implementation of the GST. “In theory, this could mean an increase of 3% in premium from the existing applicable premium effective from 1st July 2017, across life, health and general insurance, however, some of this should be offset if tax on services availed by the industry are allowed to be taken into account to decrease insurance.

The policyholders may stand to benefit only if the insurance companies are allowed the benefit of input tax credit. “This unfortunately is not clear as of yet given the complexity of the state/centre structure of GST, this might drive some confusion as well as higher compliance and administrative costs for insurers. If these are not passed on to customers, prices might either go up, or stay low but will affect the market’s solvency and financial health,” says Verillaud.

gst

Similar will be the impact on general insurance such as car, health and other non-life policies i.e. service tax (when replaced by GST) will increase by 3 percent of the premium amount. This would increase total outgo (premium plus tax).

Impact : : The overall impact could be nominal but once implemented, both, existing and new policyholders will have to bear the additional cost. If the current premium of a term plan is Rs 10,000, (excluding the service tax of 15 percent) the GST impact will up the premium including tax by Rs 300 i.e from Rs 11,500 to Rs 11,800. While, comparing premium especially of term plans, make sure you are looking at premiums including or excluding GST for all the insurers. Nothing changes in the selection process as the GST impact will be same across insurers. Stick to a proper selection process while getting the right insurance policy.

GST and real estate

Real estate sector is marred with plethora of taxes both at the state and central level. GST hopefully will put in a more streamlined tax structure in place. “The heavily taxed real estate sector welcomes a single stable 12% GST rate, inclusive of the value of land and with full input tax credits,” says Rajeev Talwar, Chairman, NAREDCO.

But, will the home prices be lower than they are now in the post GST era? “NAREDCO is of the view that the actual tax incidence under GST would match or be lower than the existing multiple indirect taxes on the sector. The GST rate for work contracts which will also be offset by input credits, will provide for a seamless and simplified tax policy”, says Talwar.

However, it seems arriving at a conclusion regarding price impact could be a bit premature. “The GST rate is not the only important factor. The abatement rules as applicable under the service tax regime and the input tax credit facility for developers will determine if the effective tax incidence on real estate is lower or higher under GST,” says Anuj Puri, chairman of JLL Residential.

According to Puri, here’s why it will take time to conclude if the GST is tax neutral or tax adverse for the real state sector, ““Effectively, the composition scheme allowing for abatement against cost of land to the extent of 75% of the house cost for residential units priced under Rs 1 crore and less than 2000 sq. ft. makes the effective rate at 3.75%. In other cases, the abatement goes down to 70%, making the effective rate at 4%. This will go a long way in determining whether GST is tax neutral or tax adverse for real estate”.

The situation may not be same in the luxury segment. Surendra Hiranandani, Chairman & MD, House of Hiranandani says, “In the case of a premium development, the entire input tax credit is not sufficient to bring down the fresh tax liability to nil because of the taxes paid on other expenditures, having negligible impact.”

The actual impact may be few months away after the implementation of GST. “More clarity will prevail once the GST gets implemented and the government clears its stand on the abatement available for the land cost for calculating service tax on under-construction projects.” says Hiranandani .

GST and banking

Transaction fees in financial services are likely to increase as the government has put these under the 18% tax bracket in the new GST regime. These services were so far taxed at 15% and the hike in the tax rate means that individuals will have to pay Rs 3 more for every Rs 100 paid as charges/fees for banking transactions. It may be mentioned that recently several banks starting with SBI introduced or increased service charges for multiple banking transactions including cash withdrawals exceeding a certain number of times in a month.

GST and mutual funds

The impact of GST on the returns of mutual funds will be largely marginal. The levy of GST will be on the total expense ratio (TER) of the mutual fund. The TER, commonly known as expense ratio of mutual fund houses, will also go up by 3 per cent. Expense ratio is the measure of the cost incurred by an investment company to operate its mutual fund.

As per the SEBI guidelines, AMC’s can levy charge within the limits prescribed under the regulations. So, if the limit is say, 2.25 percent of total assets under management, the service tax of 15 percent has to be within it.

Impact : Let’s assume the return on equity (market return) is 15 percent when the scheme’s TER is 2.25 (regular scheme) including the service tax. This means, TER without tax is 1.96. Now, to maintain the same TER (as it is capped), at a higher GST rate of 18 percent, the TER has to be lower at 1.91 percent. The AMC’s may have to absorb this marginal difference unless SEBI increases the TER cap.

Conclusion

Even though the hike will be nominal, taken together for all the insurance covers, the increase in the outflow could be something to account for by many policyholders. For someone paying annual premium for car, household, health, term plan, personal accident cover, a total of say Rs 50,000 a year could see a jump in premium outflow by Rs. 1,500 a year, with no additional risk coverage or benefits. The actual impact of GST on financial services including banking, insurance will however, be known only once it gets implemented. As a policyholder and an investor, no change, as of now, is required to be made in advance when it comes to GST.

Source – ET Retail

A quick guide to India GST rates in 2017

The GST Council, the apex decision-making body for the new tax, has fixed the tax framework under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is to be rolled out this July 1. Tax rates have been finalised for 1,211 items with a majority of items being kept under the 18 per cent slab.

Here’s a complete list of GST rate card.

Nil rate (0%):
No tax will be imposed on items like fresh meat, fish chicken, eggs, milk, butter milk, curd, natural honey, fresh fruits and vegetables, flour, besan, bread, prasad, salt, bindi. Sindoor, stamps, judicial papers, printed books, newspapers, bangles, handloom etc.

5%:
Items such as fish fillet, cream, skimmed milk powder, branded paneer, frozen vegetables, coffee, tea, spices, pizza bread, rusk, sabudana, kerosene, coal, medicines, stent, lifeboats will attract tax of 5 percent.

12%:
Frozen meat products, butter, cheese, ghee, dry fruits in packaged form, animal fat, sausage, fruit juices, Bhutia, namkeen, Ayurvedic medicines, tooth powder, agarbatti, colouring books, picture books, umbrella, sewing machine, and cellphones will be under 12 per cent tax slab.

18%:
Most items are under this tax slab which include flavoured refined sugar, pasta, cornflakes, pastries and cakes, preserved vegetables, jams, sauces, soups, ice cream, instant food mixes, mineral water, tissues, envelopes, tampons, note books, steel products, printed circuits, camera, speakers and monitors.

28%:

Chewing gum, molasses, chocolate not containing cocoa, waffles and wafers coated with choclate, pan masala, aerated water, paint, deodorants, shaving creams, after shave, hair shampoo, dye, sunscreen, wallpaper, ceramic tiles, water heater, dishwasher, weighing machine, washing machine, ATM, vending machines, vacuum cleaner, shavers, hair clippers, automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft for personal use, and yachts will attract 28 per cent tax – the highest under GST system.

Source – ET Retail

Accounting Basics For Indian Startups: Compliances, Valuation And A Lot More

One must always record daily transactions on a real time basis…

Keeping a real time track of your transactions is a must as the last thing you want is to be stuck backtracking all your transactions that haven’t been recorded. It raises the scope for error and missing out on a single transaction could result in all your efforts going in vain.

Also, when you look at moving to an accounting system, you need to have enough data to feed into the software. There are several cloud based softwares such as Quickbooks that are very economical and have a great, user-friendly interface. If you have your excel sheets ready, a few clicks is all it takes to import them into Quickbooks.

Q: How To Stay Aware Of All The Compliances You Need To Follow?

You must have prior knowledge of all the compliances you need to follow. In order to do this, you must:

Create a due date chart of all the various compliances and follow that chart diligently.
Don’t just follow it on the due date itself, set reminders ten days in advance that let you know that you have a certain compliance coming up.
Implement monthly reporting.

You may not be consider yourself knowledgeable enough to maintain a balance sheet and profit and loss sheet but basic things like a revenue sheet and an expense sheet can definitely be managed without much effort.

Q: How To Find Out About All The Compliances You Need To Adhere To?

Well, in order to achieve this you’ll need to perfectly understand your sector. You need to consider the compliances you need to adhere to, both at the current stage you’re in as well as when you grow and scale further in the future. For example, the best way to break it down is to think that if you were to be the number 1 in your sector, what all compliances would come into play and at what stage.

One trap that you mustn’t get stuck in is, use advice given from a professional who is an uncle or a family member to counter what your accountant is telling you. No doubt, it’s always great to get an opinion from other people. However, the uncle or family member probably won’t have as much exposure or knowledge about the startup ecosystem and hence, their opinions maybe slightly skewed and inaccurate. It’s always advisable to find someone who is aware of your sector/industry.

Q: Why Having A Revenue Model From Day 1 Is Necessary?

There are plenty of startups that have gotten funded but still have a very flawed revenue model. Entrepreneurs must have their revenue model in place from day one so that by the time they start seeking funding, they have nothing to worry about on the finance/accounting front. Things like how the whole cash flow, fund flow and revenue model is going to work must be figured out at the earliest. So often you see a company where the founder has tried to manage the finances on his own as opposed to outsourcing it or seeking help. The latter always has an edge and the option of scalability, unless of course one of the founders is an accounting wiz.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this is India, not Singapore or the US.

In India, just getting your company name registered could take days on end. Even getting your company incorporated involves so many things that you wouldn’t know about unless you’re an expert. Hence, our advice would be that even if you do have the basic knowledge, always get an expert on board. In your startup’s growth cycle, that particular resource may not be with you throughout your journey but getting that updation from that resource will be of great help.

Q: How Accounting Affects Your Valuation?

Valuation is something every founder is obsessed with and rightfully so. Finance and accounting plays a large role here too, as, in order to have a justifiable valuation you need to have your numbers in place or else the investor isn’t even going to entertain you and your projections. The only way you can create a valuation report that an investor won’t shun off is by having all your numbers in place and this entirely depends on your finance/accounts team. In financial terms you have something called a DCF (Discounted Cash Flow) which you use in order to derive an accurate valuation. You must keep updating these numbers real time as going back to create this report at the end of the month could lead to an inaccurate DCF.

Even if you don’t have any knowledge of compliances and of what debit and credit are, having knowledge of those revenue numbers and the model is very important for an entrepreneur. As this will help keep you aware of:

The problem you’re solving with your product and how viable a product it is.
How much money you have in your kitty and how much more is going to come in.
Where are you going to spend your money and how; are you going to register as a proprietor, partnership or Pvt. Ltd. Company.
At what stage will you need more money.
Under the given resources, can you hire a resource to look at your accounts. If not, till what point can you manage on your own.

Hire An Accountant From Day 1!

Which of the two scenarios would you rather be in. One, where you have an accountant from day one, who knows your finances in and out and you approach an investor with him by your side to back you on anything related to your accounts and finances. Or two, you approach an investor without knowing your own numbers.

Do remember, an investor will always keep a keen eye out at how vigilant you are with your utilisation of resources and only your finance and accounting departments will be able to tell you exactly where each of your resources are being utilised. Having this information when approaching an investor is a big plus point!

In the case of a freelancer…

Freelancers usually go to a CA annually with a proper document that includes all their data and transactions for the year. However, one thing to be kept in mind is that an excel sheet made by you will make all the sense in the world to you (obviously) but could be absolute gibberish to somebody else. This may work out for a freelancer but rarely will in the case of a company. Hence, there is a basic level of knowledge that needs to be given to your accounts person so that you both are on the same page. Basically, you must know how to create your data in a way that’s viable for you and your accountant. For example, you have plenty of softwares like Quickbooks, where you literally just have to put in the description for the transaction and the software fills out the rest and creates an excel for you.

We hope these little nuggets of information prove to be useful to you and help you get your accounting and finance systems in order. Find out how Aristotle Consultancy works to deliver a professional accounts outsourcing service. We have another post in the works, so stay tuned for more.

Source – inc24

EPFO rules changed to enable digital payments

New Delhi: The labour ministry has amended the social security schemes run by the retirement fund body EPFO to enable it to make all payments—pension, provident fund and insurance—to members electronically.

“The labour ministry has amended the schemes run by the EPFO by a notification. This will enable the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to make all payments like EPF and pension through digital mode,” an official said. It was provided in the schemes run by the EPFO that the body can make payments to its subscribers through various modes like money order, cheques or electronically.

ALSO READ: How to submit your EPF claim online

“The scheme has been completely amended and the provision of making payments through money order or cheques has been omitted from the schemes. Thus all payments would be made through electronic mode,” the official said. Explaining further, the official said, “Though the EPFO had been making 98% of its payments through electronic mode, there were some field offices which were using other modes like cheque and money orders.” The official also informed that the decision to go 100% digital for payments was taken after some complaints were received for ensuring complete transparency.

The EPFO has over four crore subscribers and receives one crore claims every year including that of EPF withdrawal, pension fixation and insurance claims.

Source – ETRetail