Breakfast Meeting: Panel Discussion on the Goods & Service Tax

AMCHAM’s Tamil Nadu Chapter held a panel discussion on GST on 15th June in Chennai. The members of the panel were Mr. Soumyaranjan Biswal, Advisor, KPMG, Mr. K. Sivarajan, Partner, PwC, Mr. L. Sayee Mohan, Partner, Deloitte, Mr. B. Sriram, Partner, EY and moderator Mr. A. Viswanathan, BS&B Safety Systems India Limited. The tone for the meeting was set by Mr. A. Viswanathan who remarked that GST will be the biggest reform in Indian taxation since 1947, but there are many challenges for which solutions are being worked out gradually. GST is conceptually a destination based tax levied on consumption of goods and services and India has chosen to implement the dual GST model and he hoped that the reform proves beneficial, not only for the common man but for the country as a whole. As we look forward to the 1st July roll out, he thanked AMCHAM for organizing this panel discussion for members and also thanked the participants, a large attendance, which underscored the importance of the subject.

 

Panel members were allotted specific aspects of GST that impacts business operations of AMCHAM members. Mr. K. Sivarajan, Partner, PwC focused on issues around what constitutes a taxable event, problems, grey areas and precautions to be taken relating to availing input tax credit, availing credit through input service distributor and possible pitfalls in valuation. Mr. L. Sayee Mohan, Partner, Deloitte, highlighted concerns covering place of supply and time of supply for goods and services, changes in strategy to be considered by manufacturers in the GST era and changes in strategy to be considered by service providers in the GST era. Mr. Soumyaranjan Biswal, Advisor, KPMG, focused on the impact on real estate, retail and e-commerce, issues relating to imports and difficulties relating to exports including impact on export incentives. Lastly, Mr. B. Sriram, Partner, EY spoke about the transition provisions and procedural issues in migrating to GST, major difficulties in complying with GST rules and potential liability of directors for non-compliance and how investment incentives are given by states under MOUs likely to be handled.

 

After opening remarks by the panel members, a very detailed interactive session followed and many members used the opportunity to seek clarification on the impact of GST on their business operations. Clarifications were sought on e-way bills; transactions when goods are on the high seas; invoicing of goods;  tax invoicing; input tax credit; retail or commercial invoice; bill of supply; generating an invoice reference number through the GSTN portal; time limit for issue of tax invoice for supply of goods; invoicing when the supply involves movement of goods and when it does not involve movement of goods or in the case of continuous supply of goods, or when the goods are actually deemed to be used by the end customer;  issues relating to warehousing and packaging; services to employees by employer etc. All the panel members emphasized that it is imperative for organizations to seek clarity when in doubt and to maintain records of transactions very meticulously. The meeting came to an end with the moderator, Mr. A. Viswanathan, thanked panel members for their time and provided very lucid clarifications to queries made by members.