‘GST is a key catalyst for India’s fintech revolution’

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on January 27, 2018

ARCHIT GUPTA, Founder, ClearTax

There has been a 25% traffic surge on ClearTax since July 1, says founder Archit Gupta

Its been over 20 days since the GST rollout but confusion looms large among small businesses. Talking to BusinessLine, Archit Gupta, founder of online tax filing portal ClearTax, said that while the tax structure looks complicated, businesses are reacting quite positively to it. As a greater number of businesses now fall under the tax ambit, the platform has seen a 25 per cent surge in terms of traffic, both in terms of queries and business, he added. Excerpts:

How are Indian businesses reacting to the GST rollout?

GST has affected everyone, from small businesses to large enterprises. The enormity of this tax reform has not even sunk in completely as there are still many laws and clauses open to interpretation. A reform of this magnitude will require some time to get used to, and this is also reflected in the queries that we get on our website. Businesses are worried about getting the law wrong and facing penalties, whether or not to register for tax. It is important for them to understand the minutiae, and the two-month relaxation period is meant for that. There are also those who are a little miffed with the new laws, but such strikes and protests will eventually die down. Every country that has implemented GST before us has gone through a similar upheaval, and we are taking cues from their experiences and moving forward with caution.

Is the confusion around GST filing over yet? What is the sentiment like?

On the face of it, it does seem like a daunting task to file all returns online. Specially for a taxpayer who has never used a digital medium to issue invoices or file returns, the idea is very taxing. The onus is on fintech companies like us to come up with easy-to-use products that make GST simple for everyone involved.

It’s been over 20 days since the rollout, what kind of traction have you seen on your platform?

Over 3 lakh businesses have registered for the ClearTax GST solution and 60,000 CAs and tax professionals have signed on to the ClearTax platform. Besides, we have addressed over 8 lakh GST related queries generated by users on our platform in the past 20 days.

What is the most worrying factor among businesses and consumers with regard to GST ?

For businesses, the biggest worrying factor is the increase in compliance post GST. Indian businesses have used a pen-and-paper mechanism for keeping records for over 60 years now, and GST has toppled the proverbial apple cart in a big way. Companies need to make sure their vendors are compliant too. Small businesses who have never used an invoicing or return-filing software before now have to use digital solutions.

How do you see your business growing now?

India is on the cusp of a fintech revolution, and GST is an important catalyst. With the introduction of GST, many new sectors have finally come under the ambit of the law. For instance, 20-30 per cent of the real estate sector has traditionally been unorganised, but this is now set to change.

The fintech sector will see many innovations and changes in the coming days, and there will be a definite surge in business. We expect to cater to 10 lakh businesses in FY18.

What kind of growth do you expect on the income tax front ?

We have seen a surge in income tax filing. The number of returns filed over the past three months on our site has gone up 200 per cent year on year. For assessment year 2016-17, a total of 5.28 crore returns were filed, against 4.33 crore last year. This value is set to increase further by 30-40 per cent due to GST and demonetisation in 2017-18.

Published on July 24, 2017

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