GST impact: SMEs put 900 items on price:

GST impact: SMEs put 900 items on price watchlist NEW DELHI, JUNE 17

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have put 900 finished and semi-finished products on the watch list for monitoring demand trend after goods and services tax (GST) kicked in this month. SME Chamber of India, the group representing smaller firms with annual turnover in the range of Rs 20-25 crore, has decided to seek a review of GST rates on these items in case higher tax has resulted in subdued demand.

Failing corrective government action, the trade body would launch a nationwide protest from September. What we have done is that we are focussing on some products. As many as 900 products are under watch. We are keeping a tab on products, which are becoming costlier in the market. We dont want to burden our end-customer, as it will affect demand. As a result of GST, prices should go down and customers should therefore buy more. If that happens only then we will get big orders, Chandrakant Salunkhe, founder and president of SME Chamber of India told FC.

Salunkhe, who runs a clutch of companies involved in packaging machinery, equipment and industrial products among others, refused to name the products. The smaller firms also want the government to relax the rules pertaining to invoice uploading and filing returns as they have resulted in higher compliance burden. Instead of monthly filing of returns, the companies want its periodicity to be quarterly. Instead of uploading the bills every month we will request the government to make it every three months. There may be quarterly submission of the bills, the industry body chief said. From the very beginning, industry bodies and tax consultants have raised the issue of lack of preparedness among smaller businesses for GST.

Given their limited resource, the SME sector has resisted the new requirement of filing as many as 37 returns annually.

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has, however, pitched for declaring first nine months of GST as the interim period having no penal action against traders on account of procedural lapses. It has no problem with filing monthly returns. The present rule requires the industry to upload invoice and file returns in the succeeding month.

The subsequent returns get auto-populated. There should not be much of a compliance issue into it. In case of a dispute it has to be resolved within that month. This will make business faster. In the previous regime one had to wait for three months and at times six months, CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said.