New Delhi: Days after Union government rolled out Goods and Services Tax, chartered accountants and tax consultants in India have hiked their fees up to 30 percent. 

The Goods and Services tax which was introduced on July 1 has increased the service charge on these services from 5 percent to 18 percent. For small business establishments, CAs are demanding a 15 percent increase while for bigger establishments, it has gone up to 30 percent.   The increased cost of these services will be ultimately borne by traders.

According to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, GST is expected to bring in an additional Rs 15,000 crore in consulting fees, reports the Indian Express.

b’A representational image | Source: Reuters’

“Earlier, traders had to file these taxes four times in a year. But now, these have to be filed three times in a month which means a total of 37 returns in a year. Naturally, it will mean increased paper work which will require more manpower. Tax consultants have to raise their fees in order to keep up with all the costs”, Pranav Arora, a Delhi-based young chartered accountant said.

“The work pressure has increased because everything is now new for all of us,” he added.

Harish Gambhir, a senior tax consultant with an experience of more than 30 years also echoed the same and said that GST has overburdened them with work.

“Since it is completely new, CAs have to first know everything about GST. They also have to teach their staff about how things should be done. And for that, we have been attending various GST seminars and training classes in the past few months,” he said, adding that tax consultants have to hike their fees.

b’A representational image | Source: Reuters’

“Traders are confused with the new tax laws and they don’t want to immediately discontinue their tie-ups with their chartered accountants. This has increased the workload considerably,” he said. 

But he is hopeful about the country’s latest tax reform, “As of now, nothing can be said much. But in the long run, maybe in a year or so, things will be streamlined.”

According to a report by The Times of India, many CA firms are also offering an online tool that can be deployed into the client server that will manage the reconciliation (an accounting practice to determine whether the money leaving an account matches the amount spent). They are charging anywhere between Rs 10 lakh-Rs 20 lakh for the same.

b’Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing on Foundation Day of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) at Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium in New Delhi | Source: PTI’

But Sangam Kumar Aggarwal, a chartered accountant who runs his private CA firm, has something different to say. “The workload has increased so much. We can’t stay and work at our clients’ offices and neither can they come to our office to file all the increased number of tax returns. For that, traders will now hire full-time accountants and computer operators. GST will actually create a lot of opportunities for them.” 

He, however, believes that GST will be a game changer for the country’s future and will put India in the world map because it will simplify the concept of tax payments for businessmen.

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Foundation Day of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) said CAs are doctors who look after the economic health of the country. He said the signature of a chartered accountant is more powerful than even that of a prime minister and cautioned against its misuse.

(Feature image source: AFP)