May 18
Indirect Tax Symposium for Adapting to the New Paradigm
Indirect Tax Symposium for Adapting to the New Paradigm
On July 1, 2018, the Government made an ambitious change to a modern, transparent and technology-driven Goods and Services Tax. GST has simplified the existing regime which was fraught with multiple laws, lack of seamless credit leading to cascading tax costs, oversight by multiple tax jurisdictions etc. Despite several teething troubles and GSTN portal glitches, the Company has successfully adapted and embraced the new tax regime.

It was in this backdrop that L&T held an Indirect Tax Symposium between 16th & 17th February 2018 at LDA, Lonavala, to facilitate a better understanding of the GST journey within the Company, allow participants to discuss the status of implementation, review the present tax risks and gear up for future Indirect Tax challenges. Themed “GST - A paradigm change” the symposium was attended by over 90 participants, handling Indirect Taxation activities at Corporate and various ICs.

Mr. Sanjay J. Hindlekar, Head - Corporate Indirect Taxation welcomed the participants and set the context for the symposium. He noted that within a year of last year’s symposium, the context has now changed from anticipating an uncertain GST to witnessing structured implementation in 228 days of GST experience. He explained the theme of the symposium and emphasized on the consequent necessity for a change in mind set to enable us to cope with the new regime. He concluded by complimenting the efforts of Indirect Tax team for ensuring successful GST implementation within L&T Group.

Appreciating the good work of the Indirect Taxation team, Ms. Vaishali Koparkar, F&A Head – L&T Defence, briefed the participants on the preparedness of L&T Defence, in negotiating with major customers viz. Ministry of Defence about Anti-Profiteering provisions. She also expressed the need to understand impact of GST thoroughly and re-negotiate appropriately with clients so that the Company does not get exposed to major tax risks later.

Nearly in all the presentations, participants expressed a need to have a robust IT system to cope with GST compliance requirements and to automate processes for smoothening E-way bill implementation which is to be proposed from 1st April 2018.

An “open forum” for discussion of GST implications on various types of business transactions, impacting all businesses, was moderated by Mr. Raju Iyer, Corporate Indirect Taxation. A few points which were discussed in the open-house were GST on employee related transactions, GST on inter-unit transactions, treatment of customer retentions, third country exports, transitional challenges, etc.

The three short-listed Regional Indirect Tax teams of Ahmedabad (Mr. Keval R Parikh), Delhi (Mr. T K Chakraborty and Mr. Neeraj Sharma) and Hyderabad (Mr. F G Mohiddin) presented their team’s achievements and region’s best practices for the “Best Indirect Tax Practices- 2017” Award. This trophy was won by the Delhi Regional team led by Mr. T.K. Chakraborty.

Mr. Y.V.S. Sravankumar, EVP - Accounts & Taxation, in his group address explained how the work of Indirect Tax Team has gained importance over the years and that, with the advent of GST, Indirect Tax Department have become an important function within the Company. He emphasised on the need to work with a collaborative approach. He also encouraged the team to take up additional responsibilities beyond the traditional role and create value for themselves, and in turn, for the organisation. With the change in Indirect Tax Regime, he mentioned that, the organization will also have to undergo a change and that new skills will come in handy to cope up with such future changes over the next few years. He was appreciative of the fact that the largest number of nominations, for the CFO awards 2017, was from indirect taxation team, and that this trend should continue upwards in the coming years as well.

The concluding session by Mr. P S Kapoor, Vice President, Corporate Taxation, began with his appreciation of efforts of the Tax Team and IC F&A Teams for greatly reducing the Potential Tax Liability (PTL) by ensuring substantial collection of VAT declaration forms and encouraging that this momentum be maintained. He also shared his vision for the future for the Indirect Tax Team as a whole and highlighted various action points. The key takeaways include:

Importance of Compliance monitoring

Information Technology enablement & Knowledge Management

Implementation of Tax Risk Management Tool

Focus on collection of VAT Declaration Forms

All the participants pledged their resolve to support the successful and stable GST implementation within the Company’s eco-system.

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