The small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) with a turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore are a relieved lot these days as the government has reduced their goods and services tax (GST) returns filing requirements to quarterly from monthly earlier.
On an aggregate, the SMEs feel that the recent changes have sent the message that the government is not mute to their demands.
In its 23rd meeting, the GST council cut down the return (GSTR-1) filing requirement from monthly to quarterly for businesses whose turnover does not exceed Rs 1.5 crore. All businesses were, however, required to submit a self-assessed summary return (GSTR 3B) by the 20th of every subsequent month.
“The system is an improvement over the earlier one because now the GST council makes changes to the law based on representations received from various stakeholders. Earlier, tax changes were made in the budget. Here, changes are more real-time and reflect the valid aspirations of a cross section of the society,” Surendra Kumar Mankoskar, commissioner, GST, Belgavi, said.
Stakeholders seem to be agreeing with Mankoskar’s viewpoint independently. Mohan Gurnani, chairman, Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry & Trade said, “GST is a good thing and it has become smooth over the months. There were meant to be teething troubles initially.”
Although the cumulative number of returns filed have come down, the workload remains the same for chartered accountants. The reason being businesses still have to pay their taxes monthly and this involves elaborate workings.
“Payments have to be done monthly. So, the shops and establishments also have to maintain their records of goods transactions monthly. There cannot be a renegotiation of pricing (paid to CAs) because we still have to do enough work,” chartered accountant Sachin Salunkhe, who helps SMEs file their GST returns, said.
Nitin Bankar, owner of a small unit in Talawade and director of Pimpri Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association, said GST is good because it places people like me on an even keel with large enterprises.
“GST is very good because it places all the entrepreneurs on the same ground. In the excise regime, even large businesses claimed credit and took undue advantage. That has gone now,” he said.