The Indian government’s effort to ease burden and harassment faced by small businessmen and traders over filing good and service tax (GST) returns is beginning to bear fruit with the expansion of GST Suvidha Centres that are springing up across the country through a franchise model.
These centres, especially because of their low cost model, promise to reduce cost and burden of filing GST returns, could pave the way for making India’s biggest tax reform a success.
Consider one example of how this would work. Hyderabad-based Bodhtree Consulting Ltd, which is a registered GST Suvidha Provider, has developed a software for easy compilation of data and filing of GST returns for small traders, business and manufacturers, every month. In order to spread the use of its software, the company has tied up with Popcorn Infotech Pvt Ltd, which promote the software. Anyone can buy their software and set up a GST Suvidha Kendra, similar to Aadhaar Suvidha Kendra, and charge a minimal fee for various required filings for GST to be done by the small businessman.
The lack of tech-savvy and fear of high costs in installing computers and employees with the requisite skills was one of the biggest fears among small businessmen and traders. This type of suvidha kendra eliminates that by reducing costs, especially those whose business’ turnover is in the lower boundary point for GST registration, that is above Rs20 lakh.
According to our findings, the GST Suvidha Kendra will charge nominal fees for providing the services. Bodhtree is one of the first companies to be ready with the software. Anybody who wants to set up a GST Suvidha Kendra needs to invest in necessary computer system and a small amount of Rs25,000 for the software. This also presents a good business opportunity with low investment.
Moreover similar services for insurance and mutual funds are also going to be added to the Suvidha Kendra.
As per the GST Network (GSTN) website, there are 34 GST Suvidha Providers (GSP) allowed to develop necessary IT infrastructure for GST filings. So a taxpayer may now choose from one of these 34 third party solution providers to carry out the required filings under the GST regime. These IT solution providers are allowed to develop and distribute software to vendors across India who can in turn start a GST Suvidha Kendra. At such Kendra’s a small businessman can get all his required filing done at a nominal price, hence, it will be economically viable for them too as they do not have to set up their own computer systems or hire an employee for doing the monthly filings. The GST system has G2B portal for taxpayers to access the GST system but this can be done only through a third party application provider that is GSP. So essentially, what the tax payer is doing is that he is doing the required filings on GSP’s system that in turn is connected to the GST server.
Though GST has been accepted with open arms by many there were some who were against the reform, for various reasons. For instance, textile traders of Surat (Gujarat), a major textile hub took out a huge morcha in July 2017 against the GST regime.
Source: Money Life