They say To Be Prepared Is Half the Victory. This quote holds true for life in general. But it is also proving it’s worth as GST is steadily pacing towards its implementation.
Knowing the impact of GST throughout the country would be tremendous, let’s not be surprised if the Chartered Accountants (CAs), Company Secretaries (CSs) and other tax professionals would sense an opportunity to bring about a change in their well-structured modus operandi.
Talking about the roles specifically, CAs are going to be an undeniable influence as soon as the tax reform takes place. Complying with the laws, offering financial advice, handling the codes of taxation objectively would be a few major responsibilities of a CA, let’s peek into how this big change ought to be responded to.
Implementation of GST means an attempt to learn a whole new tax reform, in fact the biggest tax reform since the time of independence, which may require a lot of effort. Therefore, in order to be not left behind in the race, it is necessary for the tax professionals to have an edge over the non-qualified operating bodies by being GST-ready in all ways possible.
Subsequently, it is imperative for the professionals to understand the legal structure of GST that is going to engulf most of the indirect taxes. GST would roll out with a standard and uniform rate. Therefore, CAs ought to be well-versed with the legal concept along with the pre-GST procedural aspects.
With a new set of laws come new opportunities. CAs, especially young professionals, have a strong chance to expose themselves to new learning and stand at par with experienced heads. Besides, the tech savvy young professionals have an easier task of understanding the reform as GST is highly IT oriented and automated.
When it comes to specific pre-GST period opportunities, it focuses on one time preparedness of the clients. The first step is to understand the work system at a client’s workplace in order to make the system GST-compliant, next is giving a strategic backdrop of logistics and commercial systems needed by the client. Other responsibilities include making changes in accounting software, training the management and staff of the client, catering to the reform needs like claiming ITC and so forth.
Likewise the post-GST responsibilities include routine tax and return filings, ensuring minimum credit leakages, assisting clients in assessments and representations etc.
However, the specific key roles of CAs in the proposed GST regime are stated as under.
- Representation to GST Policymakers
Putting forth the views for the authorities to act on GST reform and achieve the maximum benefit with minimum disruption is one of the important roles that professionals like CAs can play in GST implementation.
- Maintaining Registers and Documents
Electronic registers and supporting documents of the clients should be registered in electronic form to ensure timely credit deductions and refunds, thereby, computing accurate liability.
- Filing Returns
Filing of Returns brings opportunities for the CAs to help the taxpayers comply with the legalities of GST regime.
The internal statutory audit of GST records and accounts helps in proper tax compliance. And a CA plays a major role in helping the taxpayer stay safe from non-compliance issues.
- Authorised Representative
When the taxpayer has to appear before the GST Officer, he can send his authorised representatives for the same and that includes a CA who holds a valid certificate of practice and is not debarred from the practice.
Well, the role of CAs doesn’t stop here. As the GST would roll out, the professionals are for sure going to have their hands full with immense responsibilities of a happier economic future!