C Times, 4th July 2017, Agartala
Traders across Agartala complained of little business coming their way on Monday, the second working day since the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system was rolled out on July 1, even as they spent the entire day trying to understand the “complex” new tax regime.
“Wheat in loose form is being sold without tax. However, if it is packed in bags by a certain company then it is taxable under GST,” a shopkeeper states while trying to understand GST.
“Agartala is the hub of wholesale markets, which have dried up due to lack of demand and supply. Everyone is trying to understand what to do with the stock they bought before the GST came into effect,” said a shopkeeper.
Shop owners said they spent their entire Monday taking inventory of old stock and figuring out the changes made to billing procedures.
Some traders got experts to tutor them on the new aspects of selling goods that were purchased prior to the GST coming into effect so they could avoid any “hidden irregularities” that may become a legal liability.
“There are instances where customers want to buy a product that was provisioned by the trader before GST was in place,” said Samir Sarkar, the general secretary of Hawkers Conner Merchants Samite.
The traders also have to register for a Goods and Services Taxpayer Identification Number (GSTIN), before they can conduct inter-State purchases from cities such as Bisalgar, Belonia, Udaipur, Sabroom and Dermanagar. Their customers to have to get a GSTIN.
Majid Patty, which is renowned for wholesale clothing, has been hit by GST as most businessmen here were not liable to pay sales tax or VAT till now, but have to pay 5% under GST.
Sanjoy Podder, who sells child cloth in the market, said “We have faced a drop in sales because of GST. Many cloth merchants are not happy with the government’s decision.”
Traders in Agartala Gol Bazer are not worried about the increase in taxes but are apprehensive about the complexity of the new tax regime, which they find difficult to comprehend and implement.
“We do not have any issue with GST, we have an issue with how complicated it is,” said a wholesaler of groceries.
Under GST, traders will have to file their monthly returns online, but a majority of the businessmen do not have computers or know the process of online billing.