How will GST in India affect the Software Industry?

GST in India will be mostly applicable from April 2016. This means, there will be a lot of changes not only in the taxation that we have been seeing but also with the consumption of the minutest item. It will be like the Domino Effect where one thing will have a possible and a lasting effect on the other.

With GST (Goods and Services) Tax being levied, other taxes like Excise, VAT, Octroi, Service Tax, etc. will likely go away and give way to a single taxation system. GST in India will be divided between the state and the central which will help the taxation system be easier and simpler.

This means there will be some time, effort and work involved in the whole planning, implementation and deciding the division between the centre and the state, in the meantime, there is a lot of work on a company’s side which needs to be done in terms of training their employees, reworking on their invoices and working in compliance with the new regulation.

But the most important work over here, is of the software that handles the accounting of the company. Most accounting software in India are designed keeping the regulation in mind. So the tax computing was not a difficult task. But with GST coming in picture, even the software will be affected in the following way:

  1. Adaptability – Most systems are old and cannot handle more than standard accounting for the company. The advantages with these kind of software is that, they are small and can handle the smaller transactions easily and are suitable for them. While they may prove to be economical, they are not adaptable and cannot change with the present environment. Many times, their code is not there or the company that initially built the system, themselves have shut. In such a case, it will be difficult to adapt the software to the changing times for moving beyond Excise, VAT to GST.
  2. Scalability – The small and older systems are also difficult to be scaled to include GST in them. They are also not supportive in a ‘Plug and Play’ environment, wherein they can have a different software for GST plugged into their system and generate a common tax data and compute easily.
  3. Customization – Many times, customization is also not possible in older software due to various reasons like language, coding, or the company that had developed it, shuts down. In these cases also the company will face problems with their software as it will be an additional cost to get a development done on it for GST computation.

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