In just a couple of months, it will be two years since the Goods and Services Tax was implemented in the country. The introduction of the law gave rise to a new class of advisors called GST consultants. Just like businesses tax and accounting professionals also had to adapt to the change. GST transformed the way indirect taxes were being paid and reported in the country. Chartered accountancy firms started providing GST consulting services  to help enterprises deal with the new filing procedures. Tax advisors had to face a lot of trouble in adjusting to the digital format of registering new taxpayers and filing returns. The fact that the GST Network initially suffered from a lot of glitches did not help the matter. Things have become much better now but there are still some challenges faced by professionals. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Poor Levels Of Preparedness Among Taxpayers

The biggest problem that GST consultants in India face is that taxpayers are still not fully prepared for the tax. The awareness among business owners, especially those in the unorganized sector is still poor. The implementation of the law brought a lot of businesses into the tax net. These entities were earlier avoiding paying the various indirect taxes. Many existing taxpayers are still confused about various provisions of the law. Accountants have to constantly remind their clients to properly maintain invoices so that returns can be prepared and filed in time.

2. Constant Changes To The Tax Provisions

The GST Council is the main decision-making body comprising of the Union finance minister and state ministers who handle the finance or revenue portfolio. The council has conducted 32 meetings since its inception and each one is followed by announcements of change to one or more provisions of the law. GST service providers have to keep track of all the modifications being made to the law so that they can guide their clients properly. This is another big challenge faced by accounting professionals who have to change their approach constantly.

3. Insufficient Technological Solutions

The roll-out of the tax required new GST software solutions for maintaining accounts and other financial records. Moreover, registration, payment, and reporting have to be done digitally through the GST portal. Small taxpayers with limited resources are dependent on GST consultants to complete their requirements. The advisors, in turn, had to invest in new infrastructure to help their clients. However, they are still affected by the lack of high-quality technological solutions which can ease their job. This is a big hurdle affecting their efficiency and overall productivity.

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4. Increased Workload Due To Compliance Requirements

Many enterprises have to file multiple tax returns during the course of a financial year depending on the nature of their business. Some assessees have to submit monthly, quarterly as well as annual GST returns. This has not only increased the compliance requirements of taxpayers but has also added to the workload of tax advisors. They have to constantly remind clients to provide proper invoices which can be used for preparing returns or claim benefits like input tax credits. Failure to submit the forms before their due dates can attract penalties. The pressure of meeting deadlines has increased for the professionals.

5. Paucity Of Good Quality Human Resources

Another serious problem faced by tax advisors is the lack of good quality human resources. Less than two years have passed since the implementation of the law and there are still not enough experienced professionals for handling GST accounts. The tax has been added to educational curriculums but lack of practical knowledge has resulted in a dearth of skilled junior interns.

Conclusion

GST consultants must change their approach and in addition to financial knowledge must also make efforts to learn about analytics and software solutions to provide comprehensive assistance to clients.

Author's Bio: 

Seema Mehra is a business advisor working at Ashok Maheshwary & Associates-top Chartered Accountant firm. She is a professional writer and loves to share Financial related topics.