Tax Slabs & Understanding the Dynamics of Transactions under GST

Effective July 01, India would be joining a host of 160 other countries that have implemented GST/VAT in some form. This is a big step towards streamlined taxation norms. From new indirect tax slabs to drastically different taxation procedures, the Goods and Services Tax or the GST, will compel companies and taxpayers to realign their operating models.

Tax slabs in India under GST 

The new indirect taxation regime is based on a four-slab tax structure, and goods and services feature in these depending on their nature – whether it is a luxury item, a necessity or a leisure item. A total of 1211 items have been categorised under these four tax slabs, with a bulk of them (including services) being placed in the 18% bracket.

Previous tax rate (Approximate range) GST Rate Goods Services
No tax No tax Items of daily and mass consumption such as milk, butter, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meat, flours, bread, salt, prasad, bindi, sindoor, stamps and judicial papers, colouring books, newspapers, bangles etc. Hotels and lodges with a tariff below Rs 1000.
~ 5% (5% VAT and no excise) 5% Apparel below Rs 1000 and footwear below Rs 500, and essentials like kerosene and coal, medicines and insulin, stents. Edible oil, tea, coffee, frozen vegetables, skimmed milk powder, cashewnuts, incense sticks. Small restaurants, transport services like railways and air which have petroleum as the main input. Job works in textiles, gems, and jewellery.
~ 9% to 15% 12% Apparel over Rs 1000, Ayurvedic medicines, exercise books, preserves like pickles, sauces, ketchups, and fruit and vegetable preserves, umbrellas and packaged foods like butter, ghee, cheese, dry fruits. Basic cell phones. Non-AC hotels, pesticides and fertilisers, business class air tickets and work contracts.
~ 15% and 21% 28% Luxury goods and sin goods: SUVs, aerated drinks, white goods, paints,  ATM/ vending machines, vehicles, personal aircrafts; Sin goods such as bidis, chewing gum, paan masala. Certain select consumables will attract an additional cess. Movie tickets above Rs 100, five star hotels, race clubs, betting and other luxury services.

– Gold and rough diamonds have been allocated separate tax percentages of 3% and 0.25% respectively.

– Certain goods such as alcohol (for human consumption), consumption and sale of electricity, stamp duty and customs duty, and five petroleum products, namely, crude oil, natural gas, aviation fuel, diesel, and petrol have been excluded from GST for the initial years.

1. The GST council has revised the tax rates on 27 goods and 12 services with effect from 6 October 2017. Click here to read the revised list.

2. The GST council has revised the tax rates on 177 goods and services with effect from 15 November 2017.

3. The 25th GST Council met on 18 January 2018, where a third round of revisions was announced on 29 goods and 53 services, with effect from 25 January 2018.

How the transactions will change

Businesses will be impacted at both ends, i.e., at the inbound transactions such as imports (international business) and procurements (domestic), and at the outbound transactions, i.e., the sales. Here are some important transformations:

Place of Supply: Currently, many businesses operate on a state-wise warehousing model as transfers between inter-state warehouses are considered as stock transfers and are not liable to pay CST. Under GST, inter-state stock transfers between warehouses will also be subject to IGST at the “Place of Supply”. For example, a supplier of steel from Jharkhand to Orissa and Kerala, will need to pay IGST on the transfer of goods in Orissa and Kerala respectively. If there is a transfer of steel from the warehouse in Kerala to the warehouse in Orissa, IGST would still be applicable, but CST wouldn’t be payable on such a transaction. This change has been proposed to discourage suppliers from having multiple warehouses and adopt a single warehousing system.

Consideration of “Time of Supply Rules”: This factor determines when goods / services are to be supplied, and therefore, when the tax is to be paid (point of taxation). Under the GST, the Time of Supply for goods and services is the earlier of the following dates: (a) the date of issuing of invoice (or the last day by which invoice should have been issued) OR (b) the date of receipt of payment; whichever is earlier. For example, if the date of invoicing is May 20 and payment is received on July 1, the time of supply will be May 20. Which means that the  government wants to collect the tax at the earliest possible point in time, and businesses must plan their working capital keeping in mind these advanced payment timelines.

Provisions of Input Tax Credit: Input tax refers to the taxes that a manufacturer or service provider pays while buying the raw material or inputs. Under the GST, a business can reduce the tax it has paid on inputs from the taxes collected on outputs. In effect, businesses will be taxed only on the “value addition”. For example, if a manufacturer is paying Rs 300 on final product and has paid Rs 200 on inputs, he can claim input credit on Rs 200 and has a tax liability of only Rs 100. This facility will bring down the overall tax expenses of companies.

Lower exemption thresholds for Small Scale Industries: Currently, small scale industries can avail central excise threshold exemption of Rs. 1.5 crore. With the GST, this limit will be reduced to Rs. 20 lakh. As a result, a company that used to avail tax exemption of 1.5 crore can now avail only 20 lakh, leading to higher tax payments.   Benefits from higher registration threshold: Businesses with turnover of over 20 lakh (10 lakh for the North East) must mandatorily register for GST. Currently, the criteria for VAT is that businesses with turnover of over Rs 5 lakh (Rs 10 lakh for North East) must register for VAT. As a result a business that was in the Rs 5 lakh – Rs 20 lakh bracket is now exempt from indirect taxation.

These are some of the business-transactional implications of the GST. Organisations will have to design and implement extensive change management exercises to align GST with their desired business outcomes. Get more information about GST on our GST blog.

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How GST Impacts the Logistics and Supply Chain Industry in India?

With the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from 01 July 2017, business units across the country are beginning to feel its impact. Since the GST has subsumed all other taxes, such as service tax, VAT, Octroi, excise duty etc. collected by the central and state governments in India, the reforms are extensive. Their impact too is comprehensive and is expected to continue well into the future.

Like all other industries in India, GST impact on logistics and supply chain will also bring some major changes in the way these domains operate, as well as their bookkeeping activities. Logistics is a small but major part of supply chain management that concerns the administration of goods distribution in an efficient manner. We will therefore initially look at the effect of GST on logistics and then see how it impacts the broader domain of supply chain management.

The logistics industry includes the road transport sector (comprising unorganised and small enterprises, trucking companies and other fleets), the storage and warehousing domain and the third-party logistics. The operational efficiency of this industry had been falling due to the complexity of networks, growing coordination costs across supply chains, inadequate infrastructure and the levying of entry fee in different states. In addition to these, the multitude of business taxes was making logistics management an unwieldy and expensive process.

Most firms had to establish hubs and transit points in several states to avoid the state value added tax (VAT) because the goods directly supplied to dealers were taxed as per the VAT rate, but the transfer from the warehouse was treated as a stock transfer and did not attract VAT. However, this only caused more problems in accounting and lack of clarity for companies, while also resulting in opportunities for tax evasion.

GST for logistics companies 

With GST now having replaced the multiple state taxes, there is no longer the long-prevalent need to install a hub across all states. Companies can remodel their supply chains and consolidate their hub operations to benefit from large-scale operations. It will also help them to use efficient practices like bulk breaking and cross-docking through a centralised location.

Under GST, the tax on warehouse and services involving manual labour has increased to 18% from the previous tax rate of 15%. With this change, a third-party logistics company will have greater incentive to provide services where the degree of value addition is high and where input tax credit can be claimed. This, in turn, will help in the consolidation of storage and warehouse sector.

With the convenience of entry across states by measures like the e-way bill, transportation delays will be reduced, although it will also call for streamlined IT systems and readily usable documentation at the entry points. For the third-party logistics companies, the costs of designing a logistics network will be less, and asset-light firms will be able to adapt quickly and reap more advantages in comparison to asset-heavy firms.

Impact of GST on supply chain

Before we look at the GST impact on supply chain, it must be understood that supply chain management is vital for the running of business organisations producing and distributing merchandise. Each business has standards for inventory turnaround, and these must be diligently adhered to in order to ensure optimum profit for the organisation. A loss of inventory at any point will result in a loss of value.

Post the implementation of GST, the benefits accrued by entities in supply chain management mechanism include:

Customisation of supply chain – Under GST, manufacturers can shift towards tailored supply chain models as per customer requirements. The removal of stock transfer benefits can help in increasing the share of direct dispatches for medium and large-sized dealerships.

Superior inventory management – After the elimination of multiple state-level taxes in lieu of a uniform GST rate, the stock points have been optimised and channel inventories reduced. There will be fewer transit stays after GST, which will help in advancing lead times while also reducing inventory levels at stocking points. With more potential for consolidation, warehouse management can also become more efficient.

Tangential decrease in incoming logistics costs – An impact of GST on supply chain will also be seen in the form of tangential benefits for direct out-of-state procurements and logistics costs. This can help manufacturers to expand their vendor base outside state boundaries and alter the sourcing models profitably.

Cash flow management for export businesses – Due to GST, tax exclusion benefits will continue with minimum effect on the bottom line, and a streamlined tax system will help in promoting more exports.

Modified after-sales distribution models- Implementation of GST can significantly affect the spares market due to an increased need for storage and retail penetration. Forward-looking businesses can develop their distribution footprint to retreat from consignment stocking, and enable customised supply chain models while also offering high-quality service at lower costs.

Overall, the logistics and supply chain management industry has been touted as one of the primary beneficiaries of GST structure. To begin with, there will be more compliance and adjustment costs because the frequency of filing returns has increased for businesses. Further, to claim the input tax credit, compliance will be expected from every single party across the value chain. This may hurt the profitability of the industry in the short run, but in the long run, operational efficiency is bound to enhance.

At Capital Float, we take all steps to ensure that small and medium enterprises do not face any hurdles in procuring loans for their business expansion or to implement the changes that need to be implemented as a result of GST. We are also helping our clients – which include logistics and supply chain firms – to comprehend the clauses of GST and use it to maximum advantage in their operations. Read our dedicated GST blog series to know more about the implications of GST on various sectors.

Oct 24, 2018

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Considerations While Applying For a Business Loan at a Financial Institution

New entrepreneurs with pioneering business ideas primarily need finance to keep their operations running. Banks have encouraged the growth of small-scale industries in India since independence by granting loans to promising ventures. However, the demand for funds did not quite keep up with the supply, and this resulted in the emergence of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs). The NBFCs supported the trend of industrialisation by granting business finance to those who could not procure it from banks.

The digital technology revolution in the second decade of the 21st century has given rise to a new breed of NBFC companies – the FinTech (financial technology) lenders. Employing a new models of lending, a FinTech company uses data analytics and social media tools to evaluate the creditworthiness of borrowers.

If you have begun a new venture and are seeking a loan for business expansion, you may have wondered who will be a more suitable lender – a bank or a digital NBFC. While there is more of interdependence than competition between these two sectors, you as the borrower have the privilege to choose what suits your interests the best. The loan that are you are eligible for will also be based on your business credit history and the availability of documents in support of the application.

Mentioned below are the points that will matter in the decision-making process:

Flexibility of sending application: At present, banks in India do not work on Sundays, second and fourth Saturdays and on gazetted holidays. Because you need to visit a bank branch in person while applying for business finance, it implies that there will be days when you cannot expect the process to advance towards the disbursal of your loan. Conversely, digital NBFCs by their very nature of operational medium can be accessed for business finance any day, any time. Therefore, Even if you are completely occupied with work on week days, you can apply for the business loan on a Saturday or Sunday and can still avail the loan within a time period as short as 3 days.

Loan processing time: Usually, it takes a few weeks before you actually get the required credit through a bank loan. Most of the banks in the public sector have to follow stringent rules in verifying the credibility of business organisations before they release funds into their accounts.

If you have an urgent need for money and cannot afford to wait for long, an NBFC loan from a FinTech player will be a better option. The entire line of processes from the submission of application to the disbursal of funds is digital and is therefore far quicker.

Collateral requirement: For years, banks have been lending to both individuals and businesses based on collateral that has to be pledged for security. This could be a residential or commercial property, gold holdings or any other asset that can be liquidated in case the borrower is unable to pay off the loan in the stipulated period. Even if a public sector bank looks at the regular income earnings of the borrower, it still requires collateral for additional assurance of getting back the amount lent with interest.

On the other hand, the NBFCs in digital lending industry do not ask for such guarantees through assets. They offer their loans solely on the creditworthiness of the business, which is evaluated by its dealings in the past and expertise in the field. If you are reluctant to offer collateral or simply do not have anything substantial to pledge, a FinTech company will still be willing to grant business loans in India.

Years in business: When was your business established? How old is your venture? For how many years has your business been up and running? Traditional lending institutions like banks ordinarily ask such questions when you apply for a loan through them. Generally, banks in public and private sector lend to organisations that have been operational for 3 to 5 years. Even conventional NBFCs require about the same duration before they can approve an application for a business loan. Such conditions however cannot be fulfilled by many start-ups.

The digital NBFCs have come to the rescue of enterprising individuals by granting loan for business even if their establishment has just completed a minimum operational period A one-year-old organisation with a convincing success story can persuade a FinTech company for business finance.

Nature of operations: Digital technology and social media have given rise to enterprises that were unheard of even in the late 20th century. Online platforms today sell everything from groceries and clothes to jewellery and appliances. Tickets for airlines, rail, buses and even tables in restaurants & hotel rooms are booked with a few taps on your smartphone. There are hundreds of other great business ideas that need to be uncovered. Banks and other traditional lending agencies have not yet started offering credit in full-faith to ventures of an unconventional nature.

The good news is that digital NBFCs are willing to support this generation of businesses. The FinTech industry has been increasingly lending to e-commerce companies, digital marketing organisations and other projects that use technology innovatively. Thus, all of this encourages progress and allows talented entrepreneurs to contribute to the Make in India initiative.

Prepayment penalties: Nobody wants to be debt-ridden. When you take a personal or business loan, you also wish to pay it back as soon as possible. However, the lending policies of traditional sources of finance in India have been such that borrowers are penalised if they repay early. The banks earn through interest paid each month, and to maximise this, they grant loans for longer tenures. If you have windfall gains in business and want to pay off your debt early, you may be charged at least 5% of the loan amount as penalty. That may be quite disappointing for an astute businessperson.

The new-age NBFCs have eliminated this trouble. There are no preclosure penalties when you get business loan from a digitally operating FinTech lender. What is more, their flexible repayment options give you the liberty to pay without straining your business operations or affecting your personal funds.

If the case for borrowing from a FinTech company looks convincing and positive, you can be the next business to get a loan from Capital Float. With a set of thoughtfully segregated loan products, we will be happy to support your business in its journey towards higher levels of growth. To know more about how the online NBFC business loans in India can help you, visit our website www.capitalfloat.com.

Oct 24, 2018

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5 Common SME Financing Mistakes To Avoid

The SME (small and medium enterprises) sector is an important contributor to India’s economic growth. Even though their product or service may add great value for certain people, many SMEs face challenges. This is mostly because of the lack of research and planning by the business owners about the potential opportunities and risks of the particular niche in which these units operate. Many-a-times such businesses fail to make accurate assessments of their working capital requirements and, even when they do, cannot find ways to finance them.

Some common financing mistakes made by SMEs relate to whether or not to borrow, estimating the correct amount of SME business loan required, checking the full financing cost, the time wasted on getting a loan approved and the opportunity costs.

SME Financing Options and Some Common Mistakes

The Government and the private sector have taken several initiatives to increase availability of small business loans to SMEs in India. Despite the improved availability of SME finance, many units are still struggle with easy access to finance. This is mainly due to the lack of awareness of new-age, innovative financing solutions that are offered by FinTech lenders like Capital Float.

Here are the five most common financing mistakes made by SMEs:

1. Lack of Planning: One of the gravest shortcomings of smaller businesses is the inability to plan for the longer term. Business owners tend to get so involved with daily operations, troubleshooting and trying to complete orders that they fail to step back and look at the bigger picture. In the absence of a business plan, many SMEs do not foresee the amount of cash they would require to grow and expand. They suddenly find themselves in a severe cash crunch, unable to meet their working capital needs.

A sound business plan is essential for approaching a bank for a loan. Moreover, the ability to project a cash crunch or the funds needed to grow would allow SMEs to approach banks in time, since traditional lending institutions may take months before sanctioning the loan. This is where FinTech lenders have eased the situation. By deploying cutting-edge technology, Capital Float can ensure loan approval within hours. The use of powerful algorisms helps determine the prospects of a business, easing the process of loan approval. In fact, such lenders do not require a formal business plan for sanctioning SME finance.

2.Wrong Estimation of Funds Required: Most business owners feel anxious about overestimating their loan requirement and having to pay interest on excess funds. This makes them lean towards underestimating their costs. Thus, even when a loan is disbursed, these businesses are left wanting for more. Of course, the overestimation of the loan requirement hits the bottom-line.

What such businesses need is Capital Float’s Pay Later Finance product, which offers a Predetermined credit amount. While a credit amount is determined, based on the prospects of the business, the SME has the flexibility to transfer only as much funds, as it currently needs. Repayments can be made as the business generates money, and the repayment restores the credit amount, making funds available for future requirements.

3.Hidden Charges: Several lenders burden SMEs with hidden fees. These charges may be exorbitant and the business owner may not even know when they are levied. At Capital Float, perfect transparency is maintained, with no hidden charges. In fact, unlike most traditional banking institutions that impose a fee for the early repayment of a loan, there are no prepayment charges at Capital Float.

4.Choosing the Wrong SME Finance Product: Most SMEs turn toward unorganized moneylenders or traditional banking institutions to borrow money. These loans are not tailored to the specific needs of the SMEs. New-age lenders like Capital Float offer various SME business loans that have been designed keeping in mind the needs, business model and ability to repay of different businesses.

5.Trying to Arrange Collateral: SMEs sometimes put too much at stake to get a loan or do not borrow money in the absence of collateral. Capital Float offers small business loans in India without the requirement for collateral. One can also opt for a Merchant Cash Advance, which converts accounts receivables of a business to quick and usable funds.

Apart from these common mistakes made by small businesses, the timing of the loan approval and receipt of funds plays a critical role in the success of SMEs. Any delay in arranging the necessary funds can prove catastrophic for a business. This is mainly because SMEs often do not have sufficient negotiating power with their suppliers. They need to make payments for raw materials long before they can raise an invoice to their customers.

The rapid evolution of technology to address SME finance needs have revolutionized the lending space. The objective of FinTech lenders is to eliminate the liquidity issues faced by the SME sector by ensuring the quick approval and disbursal of the loan amount, while also making it easier for these smaller businesses to repay the loan. However, to make use of these advantages, SMEs need to be made aware of such options.

Oct 24, 2018