What has been the impact of GST on your customers? How are your customers coping with multiple GST slabs, tracking of invoices and movement of goods across state borders?
Because of lack of clarity and confusion over GST, a lot of customers delayed their print procurement to a good extent. A lot of people are saying that huge orders are being expected to make up for the slow period. We are yet to see that. Regarding multiple slabs, even earlier there were multiple slabs in excise duty. Multiple GST slabs thus have not affected in a negative fashion. In fact, before the last notification, there was only one slab of 18% for all commercial printed products. Our customers hated that. After notification No 31/2017, the multiple slabs are back and our customers prefer this. So it is safe to say that multiple slabs have not harmed the customers.
Movement of good across states has not been any issue, although we do not have a lot of goods traveling across states. But whatever has gone has been smooth.
Do you believe it’s in our best interest that all our (printing and packaging industry) the tangible products are covered under HSN (Goods) so that there is a greater chance of coming under the manufacturing sector and acquiring industry status?
I am personally not aware of the advantages or disadvantages of whether we are under HSN or SAC, since the rates are the same in either case as per new notification. Some of our clients want us to mention HSN code in our invoice rather than SAC because their internal ERP system is not updated and can only accept HSN codes. But this I believe is temporary and they should eventually update their systems. Even though we are providing tangible goods, I think printers are more of a service provider.
The Ministry of Finance issued a Notification No 31/2017-Central Tax (Rate) dated 13 October 2017, which formalised the decisions regarding the GST rates at the 22nd Council meeting on 6 October 2017. Is there clarity, finally? Please name one thing on your wish list for the government.
With notification No 31/2017, there is a lot of clarity of GST rates applicable to different printed products. After the earlier notification, which said all of our products would attract 18% GST, there was suddenly a huge amount of confusion. Later, after updating the rates for books and periodicals, things were still absolutely not clear. Now after this notification 31/2017, we are as clear as we were just when GST was announced and we had to figure our rates based on HSN codes. Many of our printer friends have designed nice GST rate charts (although with a bit of ambiguity). My long wish list includes the reduction in the number of returns, upgrade in the IT structure as there is way too much traffic during the last few days of filing returns and server does not respond as it should plus I think the GST website only works on Windows system which is not the right way forward. At the end, even when we make small changes at our own workplace there are always teething problems initially. Some of the big companies fail to implement ERP systems because bringing in any change is difficult. GST being a mega change, teething problems are very much expected. Hopefully, most of these will be resolved soon.
Latest Poll: GST hopes to change the indirect tax structure in India. Is GST working thusfar?
GST will be beneficial in the long run: 27%
Good law, poorly implemented: 30%
Small firms face a compliance burden: 15%
Multiple slabs, invoice matching and glitches in the GST Network are a pain: 20%
GST is a uniform and simple tax regime for India 8%