Devil is in the details, say Bengaluru's traditional traders

Devil is in the details, say Bengaluru's traditional traders

With GST being rolled out from July 1, traders in the old pete areas in central business district (CBD) have little idea on how the new tax system works. Like traders across the country, they also want GST introduced on September 1.

Though Bengaluru stands first in the country on GST registration at 98%, not many have a clear picture on finer aspects. Traders said they cannot afford to have a computer or a laptop to run business.

“We have no problem with GST. We are just asking the government to give us some time,” said Sajjan Raj Mehta, chairman, taxation committee, Karnataka Hosiery and Garment Association.

He said 75% of city traders registered with GSTN by March, while it was 95% by end of May. But the state legislature passed the GST bill only in June.

“The government has still not trained the commercial taxes department officials on explaining the nuances to us. The central government too has not yet done the trials,” Mehta said.

Vimal Kante, FKCCI director and textile trade representative from Chickpet, said there are over 10,000 textile shops in Chickpet alone. Many are small dealers and sole proprietors. Under GST, they will have to file returns 33 times a year, a time-consuming exercise. 

“We have requested the government to make a provision for kiosks at association level or at market level to ease filing of returns. They can charge us for it,” he said.
He said interstate business will get affected and dealing with small buyers will also be hit. This is because those who have business below Rs 20 lakh a year need not have GSTN, but without GSTN, business cannot be done on credit or with other states.

Shambhav Kumar Sanghvi, president of Karnataka Cloth Merchants Association,
said most of the dealers are illiterate.

“Most of the business runs on credit basis. They have to be taught everything from scratch. Getting a GSTN is not a big deal, but one should know how to file returns. Till date, 96% of the businessmen do manual billing and consult an auditor to file taxes. I am talking of 3,500 wholesalers and 10,000 retailers whose maximum interaction is with businessmen earning less than Rs 20 lakh,” he said.

He said the government expects everyone to file e-returns and use the new Tally software, but the government should know that in India, most of the business is by small merchants.

Joining the all-India strike by the textile industry, the textile outlets here will remain closed on June 30.

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