GST

GST Software: Your Best Friend for Tax Season

Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into effect on July 1st, 2017. With the implementation of GST, the process of tax collecting is much easier and simplified. It is a structural overhaul of the indirect tax system that came before it.

GST is a single tax that aims to absorb the various indirect taxes such as sales tax, service tax, entry tax, customs duty and entertainment tax.

Levied at every stage of value addition, GST is very similar to value-added tax (VAT). Sellers are provided with the ability to claim a refund of tax already paid at an earlier stage through the system of Input Tax Credit.

The GST council has classified 1300 types of goods and 500 kinds of services, allocating them into 4 tax brackets (5%, 12%, 18% and 28%).

There are 3 specific taxable components of GST which are as follows:

Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST)

Collected by the central government on intra-state supply of products and services.

State Goods and Services Tax (SGST)

Collected by the state government on intra-state supply of products and services.

Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST)

Collected by the central government on inter-state supply of products and services.

The “One Nation, One Tax” initiative comes with an easier set of tax regulations although calculating how much you owe in GST can be somewhat of a hassle and could lead to further expenses if you need to hire a personal accountant or financier to sort your tax returns.

Features of GST Softwares

With the abundance of GST software and GST calculators now available, you might find searching for the right one a little cumbersome. The list below contains some of the leading GST softwares with their advantages, disadvantages and who they’re most beneficial for. 

Depending on the business you run, the GST accounting requirements will differ. The steps below should be kept in mind when choosing the right software.

  • If the software includes payroll related features.
  • If the software can handle foreign exchanges.
  • If the software can handle provision for more than one bank account.
  • If the software can track stocks, inventory, orders, etc.
  • If the software can handle task management requirements.
  • If the software requires internet to operate (for online payments, verification of records)
  • If the software can record and maintain monetary affairs of each of the different departments under the main business entity.

Online and Offline accessibility

Online GST softwares do not require you to install anything as the information will be stored on online servers. Data synchronization is possible across the business on different computer systems for your ease of access as long as you have an active internet connection.

The anxiety of losing data is non-existent as secure storage and backup services are provided along with the software.

Offline GST softwares will need you to manually save transactions, maintain the database, update and backup records. The advantage of offline GST softwares is for businesses that indulge in bulk transactions as online GST softwares do tend to be slower depending on your internet connection.

Simple User-friendly interface

Not everyone running a business is well acquainted with the numerous accounting and tax procedures. Many softwares tend to have every possible feature adding complexity and clutter, deterring some people from using them.

Even if the software is designed mainly for tax professionals, the other people who work in that business should also be able to use it for basic accounting calculations or to check records as per their requirement without any technical know-how.

Types of GST Billing Softwares

ProfitBooks

It is a popular GST accounting software in India. Launched in 2012, they have now matured over time and include many compliant features.

Its advantages and core features:

  • Easy expense management.
  • Inventory management features.
  • Warehouse management.
  • Multi-user support.
  • Payroll processing.
  • Facility to invite and accountant.
  • GST Invoicing with payment gateways integration.

Clear Tax

It is a GST software more focused on accountants who need to set up and prepare GST compliant accounts for their clients.

Its advantages and core features:

  • Online GST Course is available.
  • Assists accountants to find clients.
  • Storing data and imports/exports
  • Helps to get listed under GST.
  • Provides free e-learning solution.

However, it is not an accounting software and does not have core business features needed. It is mainly designed and intended for accountants and is used as a disjointed tax preparation tool.

GEN GST

It is also more focused and tailored to accountants who require a tool to prepare GST forms for their clients. It runs similar to a blanket app and can be used for filing tax returns that are extracted from other accounting softwares.

Advantages and core features:

  • Preparation and filing of GST
  • Storage of data and imports/exports.
  • An internet connection is not required

Just like Clear Tax, Gen GST is not an accounting software, only a disjointed tax preparation tool. Since it is an offline application, it is more susceptible to virus attacks, data thefts, and hard-disk crashes.

Tally ERP 9

Tally ERP 9 is widely used by resellers and manufacturers. Primarily designed for accountants, business owners might find it complicated to operate.

Tally is an offline based software which can make the GST filing process more tedious. As an internet connection isn’t required, you have to manually import and export the data in the tax filing utility.

Advantages and core features:

  • Manages HR and Payroll records.
  • Can have multiple company support.
  • Slew of financial management options.
  • Includes inventory management.
  • Tracks and records Invoicing and billing.

There are a few disadvantages that arise from Tally ERP 9’s nature like, chargeable software version upgrades that can be expensive for multi-user systems. The data is not displayed in real-time which could cause delays and require Tally.net along with Static IP to operate in more than one location.