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Indian Government Reduces the Tax Burden on SMEs

Indian economy has stayed robust for the past few years. Global credit rating agencies continue to display confidence in the Indian economy and the government is also optimistic about meeting its fiscal targets. This in turn has prompted the government into taking on some bold reforms to the Indian economic system in the past. In yet another move, the government has announced through the Ministry of Finance that it is lowering the rate of deemed profits under the presumptive scheme for businesses.

This is good news for small and medium enterprises operating in manufacturing, wholesale, retail and trading. Earlier, when a business opted for the presumptive scheme of taxation under section 44AD, 8% of its total turnover or gross receipts was taken as net income chargeable under tax. However, the government has announced a new incentive for businesses wherein they can reduce this tax rate to 6%.

How you can reduce the tax on your business income under the new scheme?

Well, going digital and creating a low cash environment is one of the government’s primary economic objectives. The new scheme is an incentive for small and medium businesses who conduct their business transactions through electronic mediums. A statement by the finance minister also reflected this sentiment as he noted that small businesses can save up to 30% in taxes by availing this scheme and going cashless.

To take the benefit of the scheme the precondition for traders and businesses is that all their payments should be through digital means. Hence, the deemed profit rate shall be reduced from 8% to 6% for those who satisfy the pre-condition.

Who can benefit from the scheme?

SMEs which have already moved to digital transactions will benefit the most from this scheme. The tax rebates are being given with a retrospective effect. So, if your business has been accepting payments through digital transactions since 1st April 2016, you can claim tax benefits under the scheme up to 31st March 2017.

Consequently, if you have missed that opportunity, there is still a silver lining for your business, as you can benefit from the scheme by moving your future transactions through electronic modes. One caveat of the scheme is that all transactions done through cash are still liable for taxation at 8% under the deemed profit presumptive taxation scheme.

The following table shows how a business can save taxes under the new scheme.

Particulars

100% Digital 100% Cash 50% Cash, 50% Digital

Gross Turnover

₹ 1 Crore ₹ 1 Crore

₹ 1 Crore

Digital Turnover

₹ 1 Crore Nil

₹ 50 Lakhs

Cash Turnover Nil ₹ 1 Crore

₹ 50 Lakhs

Deemed Profit @6%

₹ 6 Lakhs NA

₹ 3 Lakhs

Deemed Profit @8%

NA ₹ 8 Lakhs

₹ 4 Lakhs

Total Profit

₹ 6 Lakhs ₹ 8 Lakhs

₹ 7 Lakhs

Deductions u/s 80C

₹ 1.5 Lakhs ₹ 1.5 Lakhs

₹ 1.5 Lakhs

Taxable Income

₹ 4.5 Lakhs ₹ 6.5 Lakhs

₹ 5.5 Lakhs

Tax Payable

₹ 15,452 ₹ 56,650

₹ 36,048

Tax Savings ₹ 41,198 Nil

₹ 20,596

So, by going the digital route, a small business owner can save as much as 72% in taxes through the new presumptive tax scheme. Such a margin can be a huge relief for small business owners and Kirana shop owners who operate at very thin profit margins. A legislative amendment in this regard was carried out through the Finance Bill, 2017.

Additional benefits of the scheme

Since this scheme is aimed at bringing more transparency to the organised and unorganised small and medium business sectors, there are several other financial benefits for SMEs as well.

Raising Capital through Investment will become easier for small business owners as the profit margins improve. An investor will be more willing to put his money in a business with healthy profit margins and support from the government of the day.

Getting Unsecured Business Loans through banks and NBFCs is also supposed to get easier for SME owners with an increase in their profits. However, here non-banking financial companies are positioned better than the banks. Traditional banks in India are simply too slow for the digital initiatives whereas NBFCs like Lendingkart Finance have already embraced digital finance, here’s how.

  • Lendingkart offers business loans online through their website and mobile app.
  • From application and document uploads to tracking, approvals and funds transfer, everything is done online.
  • An SME can get a business loan within 3 days’ time.
  • Digital financing allows Lendingkart to offer lower interest rates on business loans, reduce processing charges and waive off prepayment penalties.
  • Instant refinance available upon closing an existing loan.

Raising credit rating is another side benefit of the new scheme as more profits means less credit liabilities and subsequently a healthier balance sheet. This will raise a business’s credit score and help secure more financial resources for growth and expansion.

In conclusion

All in all, the new scheme is a very good incentive from the government and shows the ruling dispensation’s eagerness for market reforms. Small and medium business owners are set to gain from this scheme both in short-term and long-term. It would be good if the government can extend the benefits of these schemes to professionals taking the benefits of the presumptive tax scheme. However, one step at a time does the trick and we applaud the finance ministry’s proactive approach to business development in India. Moreover, the financial benefits of the scheme such as easy small business loans and growth in investment prospects are definitely positive steps for the economy and the people.

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