The SME sector is the backbone of the Indian economy as it includes over forty-five percent of the manufacturing output and employs over forty percent of the whole workforce. SMEs have a drastic impact on the Indian economy and GDP. That is why SMEs need to understand how GST affects the sector.
If you are a small business owner, you might be engrossed in understanding how the new GST rules will affect your business. Let’s talk about the basic concept first if you already don’t know it.
GST is a tax levied at various levels of production, packaging, and distribution of goods and services. Besides being a destination-based consumption tax, it also combines different other taxes such as local and state tax, excise duty, entertainment tax, surcharges, etc. A notable feature of GST is that both goods and services have a flat tax rate till the customers can access them.
In 2002, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee proposed the idea of GST. A committee was there to design a Goods and Services Tax Model for India.
In 2004, Kelkar Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management proposed a fully integrated implementation of GST across the country.
During the presentation of the Union Budget of 2007-08, the Finance Minister announced 1st April 2010 will be the date of GST launch. However, the launch date got delayed for several political issues.
In December 2014, the NDS government finally presented the constitutional bill on GST in the Indian Parliament. Eventually, the Lok Sabha passed the bill in May 2015. Finally, in August 2016, Rajya Sabha passed the GST bill.
In March 2017, after getting the approval from the GST Council, the Lok Sabha passed a few central legislations like:
1. GST Bill, 2017
2. IGST Bill, 2017
3. UGST and SGST Bill, 2017
All stated and Union territories passed their respective UTGST and SGST Acts by 30th June 2017. That is why the final GST implementation date was 1st July 2017, the beginning of a path-breaking tax reformation of India.
In the pre-GST era of the indirect tax regime, both state and the center had levied many indirect taxes. The states used to collect taxes in the form of value-added tax for which every state had different rules and regulations.
Interstate trading of goods was taxed by the Center whereas indirect taxes like octroi, entertainment tax, and local tax were levied by both state and center. The list of indirect taxes in the pre-GST regime included-
Central Excise Duty
Central Sales Tax
Taxes on betting, lotteries, and gambling
SMEs function in multiple states of India that demand VAT registration. That is why different tax rules operating in different states of India added to the complications. GST bill has eased the procedures with a centralized registration system. With the reduction of complications in launching a start-up, we can see a boost of new businesses mushrooming around India.
Before the GST bill, SMEs had a lot to deal with when it was about multiple taxation systems prevailing in the country. With the new rules and regulations wiping out all the cascading taxes, the small traders and dealers got rid of over 60% of their burdens. With the easier procedures of tax filling for the turnover worth of Rs. 1.5 crore would provide much-needed relief.
As per the GST bill, there will be no entry tax on goods sold in any part of India. Therefore, it will facilitate the movement of goods across the nation. The small business owners no longer have to pay octroi taxes while sending goods from one state to another.
During the pre-GST era, businesses providing services and goods had to calculate service taxes and VAT individually. But with the implementation of the new rules of GST, there is no difference between the two and it will go a long way to reduce tax evasions.
Just like VAT, the new regulations of GST will be applied at each level of the supply chain. As a result, it will develop the common national market and improve the economic condition.
GST resolved the drawbacks of the previous tax system and impacted the small businesses in positive ways, mostly. The benefits of GST will pave the way for the national market to grow further in the upcoming years.