Note: This blogpost is particularly meant for tax consultants and professionals engaged in providing tax returns filing services. Even business owners will find this post helpful.

Introduction

As per the 23rd GST Council Meeting, regular tax payers have to file GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B by end of March 2018. Currently, you must be preparing to file GSTR-3B for the month of November, and GSTR-1 for the months July to October for your clients.
Even though you must be getting data from your clients for GSTR-1 filing in digitized format, you must be facing some challenges. In this blogpost, we will take you through those challenges and share some best practices to overcome these challenges.

In our earlier blogposts, we have already taken you through how to use Tally.ERP 9 to file GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B for your clients.

Challenges tax consultants face in filing GST returns

Is it enough to have digitized data to file GST returns? The GSTN portal accepts only that data which is GST compliant. As a tax consultant, how sure are you that the data shared by your client for filing returns is in the right format?

Let’s see in which all ways you currently receive data from your clients.

1.Data from Tally.ERP 9
2.Exported data from a billing software
3.Invoice level details in excel

We will now take you through each of the above cases and explain the challenges in detail.

Case 1: Challenges tax consultants face when data is obtained from Tally.ERP 9

a. If your client is using Tally.ERP 9 Release 6.1 or below versions, he will not be able to export GSTR-1. Hence he will share sales data in an excel file with you. You will have to manually record these transactions in the offline utility or you can replicate the data in an excel format which you might have created as per GSTR-1.

Both these methods are time consuming and prone to errors. Another, and the biggest challenge here is that you will be not be filing GSTR-3B and GSTR-1 in the same month for a given period. How will you keep track of all the excel files of your clients to ensure consistency in GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B?

b. If your client is using an earlier version of Tally.ERP 9 Release 6, then firstly it is going to be quite a challenge to record GST compliant transactions, since your client is missing out on the powerful capability of ERROR PREVENTION.Secondly, when he shares the data containing transactions, you will have to add details like GSTIN Number, Place of Supply, etc. for each of the transaction. This is a daunting task in itself. Then you have to convert the data into an excel format as per GSTR-1. As you can imagine, this will take plenty of time. Additionally, you have the challenge to save and retain these excel files. Ensuring consistency in GSTR-3B and GSTR-1 for the same period is still a challenge.

Case 2: Challenges tax consultants face when client shares data exported from a billing software
In this case, you are getting data in an excel exported from the client’s billing software. You will have to repeat the time consuming process as mentioned in the above case.

a. How will you ensure that all the invoices shared are GST compliant? By GST compliant invoices we mean –

  • Is the GSTIN correct?
  • Has the correct tax been charged? Are CGST, SGST and IGST segregated correctly?
  • Are HSN and SAC entered correctly (if applicable)?

b. How will you identify errors in the data?
c. How will you correct those errors? Do you have a software to do so?

If you submit returns that are not GST compliant, then the returns will get rejected in the GSTN portal and your client will end up paying late fees and penalty. Don’t you want to avoid these hassles?

Case 3: Challenges tax consultants face when client shares data in an excel template
In this case, your client will share data in the excel template either created by you or based on the output from his software. You will either upload this file directly in the offline utility or copy the data manually into your excel template designed as per GSTR-1. This is obviously time consuming work, but the challenges are even beyond!

a. What if you identify an error or feel the need to change some details during the course of filing returns? How will you communicate this to your client?
b. You need to preserve all the excel files of your clients for all the months as these may be required for any scrutiny or in case of conflicts which may arise at the time when your client’s customers file GSTR-2.
c. Further, this exercise lets you file only GST returns. What about bookkeeping which is another effortful activity?

There are many other challenges which might pose difficulty in the process of filing GST returns. The good news is that all these hurdles can be avoided by following some simple practices.

Best practices for overcoming challenges in filing GST returns

1. Educate clients who are using Tally.ERP 9 to upgrade to the latest version so that they can file GST returns accurately. You must ask these clients to use Tally’s error detection and correction capability before exporting their GSTR-1 forms.

2. You can easily share only the list of vouchers modified by you as part of the GST filing process by using the latest Marked Voucher capability of Tally.ERP 9.

3. In case of clients who are sharing excel files or data from any other software, enter the same data in Tally.ERP 9; use the error detection and correction capability to make any corrections before uploading on GSTN portal. This way you will save time and avoid rejection in the GSTN portal. In addition, the data which you have entered in Tally.ERP 9 fulfils the task of bookkeeping as it can be retrieved whenever necessary.

We will keep sharing our thoughts based on the market insights we gather at regular intervals to walk the GST journey with you.

Do share your thoughts as well and keep reading our blog posts.

Are you GST ready yet?

Get ready for GST with Tally.ERP 9 Release 6

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