Nov 10, 2017 06:59 PM IST | Source:

Implementation of GST could have been simpler: Archit Gupta founder of ClearTax

There are over 10,000 chartered accountancy firms which use ClearTax software to file GST for their customers.

Priyanka Sahay & Sabahat Contractor 

Moneycontrol News 

Bangalore based ClearTax is one of the largest online platforms in India helping solve issues of SMEs in India in filing GST returns.

Founded in 2010, ClearTax has raised close to USD 15 million so far from investors such as Sequoia Capital and SAIF Partners.

The company has seen an increase in transactions but there is a long way to go in simplification of tax, feels the startup's founder Archit Gupta.

Excerpts from an interview with Moneycontrol: 

How has GST impacted small and medium business of India? Has it resulted in more signups on ClearTax?

GST is the largest reform for taxes in India since India's independence. About 18 to 20 different kinds of taxes have got subsumed into one tax which is the GST.

So it has been a challenging journey for the country all the way from understanding the law to understanding the changes.

Reacting to that every business is filing their GST returns and doing GST related invoicing, changing their (accounting) tactics, warehouses and so on.

We have been preparing for it for a while. There has been a very deep journey with the ecosystem in terms of engaging with operators. We have on-boarded over 600 new enterprises for whom we are filing GST.

These are large public companies and even MNCs.

There are over 10,000 CA firms which use our software to file GST for their customers and then there are thousands of SMEs who have moved to our platform for filing GST.

It has been fascinating. We have been at the core front of this problem by engaging with the community of CAs, enterprise finance heads and small and medium businesses.

We are working with everyone - from small kirana shops to multi-billion dollar corporations.

2. Have the number of transactions through your platform increased post GST implementation? 

Until July and August, there was no compliance activity as such.

September is when the filing started.

From September 1st to October 10th was the GSTN1 filing period. During that period, we saw huge volumes. Several lakh invoices have been processed. We expect to double the number of invoices in the next cycle.

3. What are the core challenges that businesses are facing regarding GST in India? 

People are trying to understand what to do for GST.

There have been a lot of things on the ground.

From a platform perspective, there has been a struggle in educating customers how to do and what to do.

There's a lot of confusion around things like tax rate for multiple items an individual is selling.

We are encountering all sorts of data related queries.

The more organised somebody is, they are doing a better job, the less organised businesses are finding it relatively very difficult.

4. How many CAs do you currently have on your platform? 

On the GST platform, we have over 10,000 CAs.

When the deadline nears, pretty much every CA is logging in and doing the work for their clients.

5. The opposition has criticized GST heavily saying it is very different from what UPA had proposed. 

This becomes very political.

Two takeaways, I have is that since the GST council is a coalition of the states, so the states and centre will together dictate the GST law.

The law was created by the GST council...they all are helping draft the law... so as an outsider perspective I definitely think the implementation and the laws could have been simpler.

Globally also, if you look at it, most GST implementations were challenging.

No country got a free or easy pass.

I think there are arguments for and against many things and in benefit of hindsight anything can be changed, they are not classifying it.

People are struggling but again I think it is the six-month (painful) journey that the country has to undertake right now.

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