At the backdrop of huge teething issues related to GST filing and claiming returns owing to glitches at GST Network as well as lack of awareness and expertise on the mater within different sectors of trade & commerce, manufacturing, ex-im, logistics service providers, etc, Balaji Mariline, a traditionally customs broking, freight forwarding and logistics company, has taken a significant move in this regard. The company has developed a GST compliant software called ‘GST Anupalan’ to benefit all the segments, especially the logistics segment. Meanwhile, the company has been certified as ‘GST Suvidha’ provider from the government of India, to play the role of facilitator and bridge the gap between GST Network and end users. Balaji Mariline becomes the first logistics company providing GST Suvidha.
About GST Suvidha Providers
According to the Ministry of Finance sources, in the evolving environment of the new GST regime GST Suvidha Providers (GSP) concept would play a very important and strategic role.
The taxpayer under GST Regime will have to provide following information at regular intervals:
- Invoice data upload (B2B and large value B2C)
- Upload GSTR-1 (return containing supply data) which will be created based on invoice data and some other data provided by the taxpayer
- Download data on inward supplies (receipts or purchase) in the form of Draft GSTR-2 from GST Portal created by the Portal based on GSTR-1 filed by corresponding suppliers
- Do matching of purchases made and that downloaded from GST portal
- Finalize the same based on his own purchase (inward supply data) and upload GSTR-2
- File GSTR-3 created by GST Portal based on GSTR-1 and 2 and other info and tax paid
Similarly there are other returns for other categories of taxpayers like casual taxpayer or composition taxpayers.
GSP will play the role of interface between taxpayers and GST portal through their own portals/software. It is expected that the GSPs shall provide the tax payers with all services mentioned above in addition to maintaining their individual business ledgers (sales ledger and purchase ledger) and other value added services around the same. Another important service expected from GSPs is the automatic reconciliation of purchase made and entered in the purchase register and data downloaded in the form of GSTR-2 from the GST portal. In additional there will be sector-specific or trade specific needs which the GSPs are expected to fulfill.
While the GST System will have a G2B portal for taxpayers to access the GST System there will be a wide variety of tax payers (SME, Large Enterprise, Small retail vendor etc.) who will require different kind of facilities like converting their purchase/sales register data in GST compliant format, integration of their Accounting Packages/ERP with GST System. Similarly, the specific needs of an industry or trade could be met by GSP. In short, the GSP can help the taxpayers in GST compliance through their innovative solutions.
“GST is not merely a tax reform; it is a paradigm shift from non-formal economy to formal economy of the country. Especially for logistics industry, which is grossly unorganised and fragmented as of today, it would bring in revolutionary changes. We are ready to offer tailor-made services as per requirements of tax payers in the industry segments. Our forte in logistics domain and huge experience in this field would be our USP in providing smooth services regarding GST. Already, we have got tremendous responses from the trade before we formally launch the services by the end of December this year,” said Mr S Sitaram, Director, Balaji Mariline.
It is pertinent to mention that in addition to providing technology services GSPs will quintessentially have to provide consultancy services for a smooth transition from GSP associates to GSTN. Incidentally, customs brokers, freight forwarders and logistics service providers in India have been offering end number of consultancy services pertaining to filing of customs papers and facilitation of ex-im trade. As a result, becoming a technology service provider for the same segment would be a value addition to services to their customers. “Yes, it would be a remarkable change in terms of quality and quantity to our services and businesses. Earlier Indian customs brokers, freight forwarders and logistics companies were offering various free consultancy services to their customers. With this value addition as registered GSP we are expecting due recognition to our valuable services for growth of exim trade,” supplemented Mr S Ramakrishna, another Director, Balaji Mariline.
The Ministry of Finance and Department of Revenue are emphasing on tax payer’s convenience as a key in success of GST regime. The tax payer should have a choice to use third party applications which can provide varied interfaces on desktops, laptops and mobiles and can connect with GST System. The GSP developed apps will connect with the GST system via secure GST system APIs (Application Programme Interfaces). Majority of GST system functionalities related to taxpayer’s GST compliance requirements shall be available to the GSP through APIs. It should also be noted that GST System will not be available over the Internet for security reasons.
Commenting on the issues related to GSTN that presently tax payers are facing, Mr Sitaram maintained that the glitches would be resolved at the government level in the due course of time. “As a GSP our job is to minimise the errors and hassles from the industry’s end, which also is a critical area of uploading GST forms or claiming credits or returns. Owing to lack of awareness and anomalies there are mismatches we are witnessing at different fronts. With our (GSPs) expertise I am sure issues due to lack of understanding and mistakes would be reduced to zero very soon,” he concluded with a very optimistic note.