Overview of GST and Important Timelines

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is proposed to be implemented from July 01, 2017, and will effectively change the face of indirect taxation in India. Some of the key benefits expected include a simpler and more transparent tax system that will reduce tax evasion and boost revenues; more competitive manufacturing, especially in the MSME sector, thanks to reduction in tax cascading; and improved GDP due to a wider coverage of goods and services. This attempt towards bringing to life a “One Nation, One Tax” legislation will have far-reaching implications on every citizen, and will impact business finance and personal finances too. This is especially true for SMEs, as they will see a direct impact on their working capital. It is therefore prudent to plan for this crucial event.

Here is all you need to know about the GST rollout.

What is GST

GST is a unified system for indirect taxation, leading to the establishment of a new four-tier indirect tax structure that replaces the existing indirect tax regime. Essentially, four new indirect tax slabs will come into effect, i.e., goods and services will hereafter be taxed according to the slabs of 5%, 12%, 18% or 28%.

Rate of Indirect Tax Goods/ Service
Exempt Goods of mass consumption such as grains and milk
5% Essential items such as edible oil, tea, coffee, insulin, incense sticks, etc. that are exempt from excise duty and are charged at a VAT of 5%. Certain processed foods like sauces, pickles, and preserves as well.
12% Goods currently taxed at 9% to 15% such as processed food and computers
18% Goods currently taxed between 15% and 21% (soaps, smartphones, utility electronic items and, industrial inputs).
28% Luxury goods such as SUVs, select consumables (aerated drinks, tobacco), white goods (AC, fridge) and goods that fall under the current tax bracket of 30% to 31%. Luxury and select consumables will attract an additional cess.

These four structural slabs allow a provision to charge a maximum of 40% GST rate, i.e., a combination of 20% Central GST and 20% state GST.

Services will be taxed at a standard or default tax rate of 18%. Only five luxury services, i.e., five-star hotels, movie tickets, racing and betting (racing and casinos) will fall in the 28% tax bucket. E-commerce companies will be subject to 1% tax collected at source.

The build-up to the GST: A track of timelines

The story began with the Central Government releasing the Revised Model GST Law for public purview on November 26, 2016, and the setting up of the GST Council to discuss and approve the Bill. Thereafter, the Council met on subsequent occasions to discuss and approve the section terms, and targeted a rollout date of April 01, 2017. The latest is a meeting held on 11th June, wherein the tax rates for 66 items have been reduced. A rollout date of July 01, 2017 has now been set. As a result, four legal bills have been presented and passed for different categories:

  • Central GST Bill (CGST): For supply of goods and services by the Central Government within the boundaries of a state.
  • Integrated GST Bill (IGST): For supply of goods and services between different states, carried out by the Central Government.
  • Union Territory GST Bill (UGST): For supply of goods and services in the Union Territories.
  • The Compensation Bill: To govern the provision of compensation for revenue losses brought on by GST implementation, over the next five years from implementation.

All four bills have been passed in the Lok Sabha and subsequently the Rajya Sabha after a series of changes at the Centre. These bills have received approvals from 16 state assemblies with Delhi being the most recent.

Rules and Acts under the GST

The Government is also in the process of driving the GST Council to put together rules and acts for GST implementation. Following are the GST rules passed till date: Composition Rules, Valuation Rules, Transition Rules, Input Tax Credit Rules, Invoice Rules, Payment Rules, Refund Rules, Registration Rules and Return Rules.

Proposed outcomes of the GST for the Government

According to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, India will evolve to be a more tax-compliant society thanks to the GST. He also clarified that the GST would not lead to inflation, addressing the Opposition’s concerns in the Rajya Sabha.

Here are some of the key benefits of GST:

  • GST will cover the GDP more comprehensively by covering a wider base of goods and services A single indirect tax regime will be instrumental in removing cascading taxation, i.e., tax payment upon tax, or multiple taxation.
  • GST will eliminate any direct interaction between the assessing authority and the tax payer by standardizing and automating processes, and will interlink incentives for compliance, making the tax system more accountable.
  • Overall and on an average, tax slabs may see reductions and the industry may benefit from the greater cash flow that will ensue.

Despite these proposed gains, a closer look at the GST reveals certain drawbacks. Four slabs is a significant number of tax slabs for a unified tax regime, and the tax rates appear to be high. These factors are likely to lead to tax evasions and legal battles.

Proposed outcomes of the GST for tax payers and businesses

For businesses, the implications vary. The “Place of Supply” and the “Time of Supply” are two important considerations that businesses must reflect on.

Goods and service providers will be subject to the tax slab depending on the “Place of Supply”. If the “Place of Supply” is intra-state, then each company entity will need to register separately for the GST in each state of operation, and will be liable to a mix of CGST and the respective State’s SGST. For “Place of Supply” being inter-state, the business will need to register in the state of origin and avail IGST in the remaining states. This makes it imperative for businesses to register correctly to levy the appropriate taxation rate.

Business norms for supplier management will change, with input credit being made available to businesses, but compliance requirements will become more stringent, leading to additional costs for businesses. Businesses must therefore be prepared to plan their cash flows better in light of the GST implementation. This is particularly true with regards to input tax credit, which can have strong implications on working capital for SMEs. This might create a cash crunch in the short term, but will equalize over time.

With the GST rollout fast approaching, it is best to stay informed and be prepared for this sweeping change. We at Capital Float can help you do just that: Visit our GST blog to know more about GST and keep track of latest.

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HOW TO ENSURE CUSTOMER RELATIONS ARE MAINTAINED DURING COVID-19?

The world is not what it used to be since the Coronavirus outbreak. The virus has distorted the daily lives of millions of people across the globe. Social distancing, travel restrictions, work from home – are becoming the new normal. To gain customers’ trust, companies should understand the buyers and their requirements in this unprecedented environment.

Why is maintaining customer relations essential?

Good customer relationships can help a company to grow. As with personal relationships, creating and nurturing customer relationships is essential as well. When organizations develop strong customer relationships, it can lead to loyal customers, positive word of mouth, and higher sales.

What are the customers expecting from you?

For your company’s long-term well-being, you should put the needs of your customers first. Customers will always prioritize their safety and that of their families. They expect businesses to understand their shopping style, keep essentials well-stocked, be treated as a valued customer, and get benefits even in these hard times.

How to maintain customer relations in the pandemic?

  • Maintain hygiene: The safety of the customers should be the priority of any business concern. Therefore, businesses should keep their stores thoroughly sanitized. When a customer goes to the store, there should be provisions for social distancing and contactless operations to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
  • Communicate with the customers: In the wake of the pandemic, everyone is in distress and fear. In such times, if a company can keep communicating with its customers, they will feel considered and cared for. By maintaining contact with its customers, the company can also stay informed about the customers’ needs and wants through feedback, thereby stocking inventory accordingly.
  • Make them feel special and valued: By storing customer information such as important dates, companies can surprise their customers with gift vouchers, coupons, gift hampers for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. They can even send over medicines for the aged family members of the customers. Such little things can increase customer loyalty.
  • Understand what customers are looking for: Businesses can identify the needs and wants of its customers through research and surveys.
  • Added benefits: In these hard times, companies can give their customers free masks and sanitizers with the items they purchase.

It is important for a company to bear in mind the immediate needs of its customers during the Coronavirus crisis. By maintaining strong customer relationships, companies can ensure sustainability and brand loyalty while running their businesses in these challenging times.

Oct 24, 2018

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How Short Term Loans Helps Small Businesses in India

A competitive environment works as a catalyst for growth for businesses, large, medium or small. Small businesses in India have been flourishing in a disorganized market for a while now, capitalizing on trends and changing consumer preferences. Yet one of the challenges they have to deal with is the lack of timely funds, whether by way of short-term business finance or investment in technology or infrastructure for scaling up. The struggle to get affordable financing has resulted in many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) failing to realize their full potential.

This scenario is changing for the better. Term loans offered by online finance companies like Capital Float are your new-age finance options for seizing business opportunities that come your way. A trust-worthy financial partner that you can rely on, Capital Float has helped  enterprises boost their profit margins with convenient short-term business finance options. While some businesses require high liquidity, some may not; but no enterprise can work effectively without adequate cash flows. Restrictive lending policies, inflexible collateral requirements and slow disbursement times offered by formal financiers are of no help to SMEs.

Term loans from online lenders offer a way out of crippling interest rates and the chronic cycle of debt. Read on to find out why it makes sense to seek short-term loans in India.

Easy application procedure

As compared to traditional banks, online lenders such as Capital Float offer the convenience of filling out a 10-minute application form from anywhere, anytime. Digitally uploading required documents translates into an easy and hassle-free process. Given this day and age of instant connectivity, this isn’t a tough task; but going through the multiple layers of process at a conventional bank is.

Prompt approval

Apart from a laborious process of submitting umpteen documents and heavy paperwork, it is likely that a conventional lender will keep a small business owner waiting for loan approval. Compare this to a situation where applicants receive instant approval in minutes. Short loans are the lifeblood for a business. Meeting a smooth supply chain, daily payments, urgent expenses and several other unforeseen expenditures are part and parcel of business operations. Thus lack of liquidity can have ripple effects on many aspects of a business. Through quick approvals for term loans, online lenders ensure SMEs avert such crises with short-term business finance, available practically at their fingertips.

Not just fast, friendly too

Unless SMEs have some collateral to offer, turning to conventional lenders for term loans might be futile. Traditional banks are highly inflexible when it comes to scanning an applicant for short loans. Public Sector banks require a business to be running for at least three to five years to be eligible for a loan. The same holds true for private banks, traditional NBFCs and moneylenders. This is where new-age fintech lenders make a difference. Far more customer-friendly, and digitally enabled, lenders such as Capital Float provide Small and Medium Enterprises even as young as one year old with short term business finance. Aspiring entrepreneurs need some handholding when it comes to finances. These digital lenders are here to do just that.

Easier on the pocket

Term loans acquired through traditional means dig deep into your pockets. But, those availed of online are far easier for a number of reasons, including.

  • Pre closure penalties go up to 5% of the loan. This isn’t the case if you choose to get short-term business finance from Capital Float. We levy no such charges on clients if they wish to close the loan ahead of the term.
  • The processing fees for a short loan offered by traditional lenders start from 2% and in many cases go up to 3%. Financing through Capital Float means SMEs only have to bear a fee of up to 2% in processing fees.
  • An online lending platform offers small business applicants the flexibility of loan tenure— they can choose from anywhere between 1 month to 12 months. Conventional lenders and most private banks don’t offer term loans for that short a period.
  • Short-term business finance procured from PSUs, private banks and traditional NBFCs carry a hidden charge. SMEs don’t have to worry about that when they approach Capital Float for a short loan.
  • Strict repayment options are one of the characteristics of a term loan procured through traditional means. These work on an EMI-only basis. Would it not be far more convenient to have a choice of flexible repayment? All of Capital Floats’ financial products come with easy repayment options. All loan products are offered at a reasonable interest rate.

Variety of loan products

At Capital Float, we understand that every SME works in an unique environment and has particular working capital needs. Keeping this crucial fact in mind, the company offers innovative and flexible credit products to meet a variety of financial needs. Delivered in an efficient and customer-friendly manner, our short-term business finance is here to help SMEs meet their credit requirement anytime.

SMEs can choose from a host of short loan products that best match their business needs. These include Term Finance, Online Seller Finance, Pay Later Finance, Merchant Cash Advance, Supply Chain Finance and Taxi Finance. Capital Float believes in being transparent in its business transactions and boasts of a wide customer base. B2B service providers, manufacturers, traders, distributors, and aspirational taxi or kirana storeowners are part of Capital Float’s customer base, as its products have helped all these businesses bridge the credit gap comfortably.

There has been a steady growth in the number of small and medium enterprises in the country over the past five years. More interesting, the sector is opening up avenues for tech-driven innovation. However, this flourishing sector still requires substantial monetary support in order to improve its higher global competitiveness over the next five years. Conducive governmental policies along with easy access to finance will greatly enable ease of doing business. In addition, short-term loans for businesses in India, sought through fast, friendly and affordable means, are what will nurture India’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Oct 24, 2018

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Impact of the Union Budget 2018 on MSMEs

MSME is an important sector for the Government, as it maintains a relentless focus on increasing GDP and employment. Formalization of MSME businesses is being undertaken on a massive scale after demonetization and the introduction of GST. The core focus of the Union Budget 2018 indicates the Government’s commitment to continue strengthening MSMEs from the base of the sector.

Lending a Hand to MSMEs

With the Union Budget 2018-19 in play, the refinancing policy and eligibility criteria under Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) program will be reviewed to encourage easier financing of MSMEs by NBFCs.  The Government has set a target of ₹3,00,000 crores for loans to be provided under MUDRA in 2018-19. Specific measures to address NPAs of MSMEs were promised to ease the cash flow challenges that they face.  The tax burden on MSMEs has been reduced by axing tax rate to 25% for those with revenues of below ₹250 crores. Recapitalization of PSU banks will add an additional ₹5,00,000 crores to the available lending pool this year. A unique Aadhaar-like identity for each enterprise is planned for streamlining business identity. This measure can enable Fintech lenders to process eKYC of enterprises swiftly and offer working capital finance in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called out Fintech lenders in his speech and emphasised their importance in financing the development of MSMEs in India.

Operation Greens

A five-year tax holiday was granted to Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) with a turnover below ₹100 crores to encourage post-harvest value addition. The Government has also promised a Minimum Support Price (MSP) crop of 1.5 times the production cost to farmers. In addition, several proposed measures related to the farm sector include – funds to develop agricultural markets, improve agricultural logistics, enhance rural connectivity, and distribute Kisan credit cards to farmers in fisheries and animal husbandry sectors. This sets the precedent for these sectors to create a digital footprint, facilitating them to receiving customized finance in the future from digital lenders like Capital Float.

The Finance Minister proposed to extend the tax relaxation period to 150 days to footwear and leather industry to boost the creation of employment at the grassroots level. An additional ₹10,000 crores have been allocated for fisheries, animal husbandry and aquaculture industries.  This is expected to aid more micro-segments in being included in the formal financial ecosystem

New Financing Avenues

In a bid to help start-ups and venture capital firms to attract foreign investments in niche areas, the Government will evolve a coherent and integrated policy for ODI (Outward Direct Investment) and hybrid instruments. The basket of eligible FDI instruments will be expanded to include these under certain conditions.

Taking a Position on Crypto Assets

The Government has reiterated that it is illegal to transact using cryptocurrencies, though it does not categorically state that it is illegal to hold these assets.  The Government will intensify its efforts to eliminate illicit transactions in cryptocurrencies. It also proposes to explore the use of Blockchain technology to enable more transparent payment mechanisms to boost the digital economy further. These efforts certainly forward the shift of business transactions from being paper-based to paperless, while adding clarity on which methods of digital payment are acceptable and which aren’t.

MSME – Key to India’s Industrial Growth

MSME sector plays a key role in India’s journey towards becoming the 5th largest economy in the world. Several measures to ease cash flow have been proposed which are likely to make lending more readily available to MSMEs. With Fintech lenders leading the charge on the financing front, MSMEs can be expectant to receive timely credit support to actualize their business ambitions and achieve remarkable growth this year. Several micro-segments are also expected to be absorbed into the formal financial system, as Fintech lenders like Capital Float continue to champion for the cause of financial inclusion in India.

Oct 24, 2018