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The much-awaited, much-debated GST became a reality a few months back. From the midnight of 30th June leading into 1st of July, most businesses across India were able to seamlessly continue their business, since they had taken the necessary steps to welcome the GST era and adopt GST compliance.
The GST Council has rules laid down for the way we maintain records, how we raise invoices and how we report our purchases and sales, and ultimately, the way we pay our taxes and file returns. In simple terms, adherence to these rules and regulations is what constitutes GST compliance. Not being compliant, can be a heavy cost for a business.
However, there are businesses, who are yet to adopt the right processes in order to become GST compliant. Here is a quick GST compliance checklist, comprising 6 steps you can take to make your business GST ready.
As per the GST registration guidelines, if your annual turnover is exceeding 20 lakhs in special category states and 40 lakhs in other states, you need to register under GST. Also need to take mandatory GST registration, if you fall under any of the following categories of suppliers:
Once you are clear about whether you are liable to register or not, you will fall under one of the following 2 cases if you have previously obtained registration in the earlier indirect tax regime.
In this case, you will need to carry forward your registration under the current taxation laws, into the GST era. You can do that by taking the following steps -
Access the common GST portal (http://www.gst.gov.in/) and enrol by validating your e-mail ID and mobile number. It is an extremely user-friendly portal, which will enable you to seamlessly take online GST migration registration.
Upon enrolment for GST, you will be allotted a provisional certificate of registration in Form GST REG-25. Please note, that even If you have obtained multiple registrations on the basis of a single PAN under the existing taxation laws, you will still be granted only one provisional registration under GST. In the case of centralized registration under Service Tax, you will be granted with a single provisional registration in the state or union territory in which you were registered earlier. However, if you are into the business of supplying services in multiple states, you will need to take separate registration for all such states, where you will be providing your services.
Within 3 months, you will be required to submit Form GST REG-24 in the GST Portal along with information and documents as prescribed. If the information provided is complete and satisfactory, the final registration certificate will be issued to you in Form GST REG-06.
In this case, even though you were previously registered, you are no longer liable to register under GST, since your turnover is below the threshold limit. In such a circumstance, you will have an option to cancel the provisional registration issued by submitting the Form GST REG-28, within a period of 30 days i.e. by July 30th, 2017.
In either case, the GST Enrolment / Registration process has re-opened at the GST Portal (www.gst.gov.in) from 25th June 2017 and will remain open till 30th September 2017, to give another opportunity to remaining taxpayers, who could not migrate to GST so far. Also, if you have enrolled prior to 1st July, but were not able to digitally sign the enrolment form, you can now utilise this window to complete the process of enrolment.
This comprises two major steps – knowing the HSN/SAC codes of your supplies and their relevant tax rates, and providing and tracking GSTIN while dealing with your vendors and customers.
Since the 18th of May, 2017, the GST Council has met 4 times to declare the rates of various goods and services, which included amendments which happened along the way. At the same time, the HSN codes (for goods) and SAC codes (for services) have also been declared. It is supercritical for you, to not only to be aware of the tax rates of the supplies you make but also the HSN / SAC codes – primarily for 2 reasons.
One, it will have an impact on your GST invoicing – if your turnover is above INR 1.5 crores but below INR 5 crores you need to use 2-digit code and if your turnover is INR 5 crores and above, you need to use 4-digit code. If your turnover is below INR 1.5 crores, you are not required to mention HSN Code in their invoices at all.
Two, there needs to be a high level of consistency to be maintained as far as the names of goods/services are concerned. Different businesses will be using different names, and the government has a standard name for all goods/services which are specified. For seamless business and compliance, it is better than a uniform code is used across, which is why knowing your HSN / SAC code becomes so important.
The second and important task is now, to know the GST rates for your products. Click here to access the final GST tax rates booklet for goods and here for the final GST tax rates booklet for services.
Probably one the most important steps for your business in the GST era is to ensure that you are able to take the right and timely input tax credit, and similarly, your customer is availing his input credit on your supply. For that to happen, you need to ensure that you have provided your GSTIN to your vendor, so that the same is recorded in your purchase ‘tax invoice’.
Likewise, ensure that you are capturing the GSTIN of your customer on the sales ‘tax invoice’, so that your customer is able to claim input credit. This will allow you to continue your business in a seamless manner, and also allow you to manage your vendors and customers effectively.
Filing timely returns will be an important aspect of GST compliance. Returns need to be filed even when there is no business activity for the specified return period, and all returns must be filed online. Once filed, the details cannot be revised, but changes can be made in subsequent filings.
Needless to say, achieving this task without the help of the right technology is going to be next to impossible.
As discussed, the number of returns a business must file and the timelines for doing so are strict. It is impossible to do all of this manually, without making errors. Hence, it is pertinent that businesses small and large use of compliance software that can ease the return filing process for them. Compliance software can also help with easy reconciliation and alert you to possible mismatches, which can then be rectified immediately. Selecting the right GST compliance software thus becomes essential.
By following the 6 steps prescribed above in the GST compliance checklist, a business will not only be able to remain compliant for its own sake but also maintain a good GST Compliance India rating under GST, which will make it easier for it to get and conduct business with other entities in the ecosystem.