Tax advisers in demand as GST countdown begins

Vol 20, PW 3 (20 Oct 16) People & Policy

From April 1 next year (2017) India joins an illustrious club of countries that include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Malaysia when it introduces a comprehensive Goods and Services Tax (GST).

In anticipation of this oil and gas companies are scrambling to hire consultants help them understand what it means and the implications of this comprehensive indirect tax on the manufacture, sale and consumption of goods. ONGC for instance is scheduled to receive bids on October 21 from four major consultants under a tender issued on September 30: KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Included in the scope of work is a study of ONGC's business activities; its registration under myriad statutes that include excise, service tax, VAT, VAT-TDS, CST, octroi, entry tax, OID cess, royalty and NCCD; and its tax documentation under established laws. Engineers India too issued a tender on October 7 to hire tax consultants with a October 20 bid deadline.

Bharat Petroleum similarly received bids on September 14 in a tax consultant tender but a company source refuses to confirm who has won. GAIL meanwhile has hired Ernst & Young to help it navigate the GST maze under a tender issued in December 2015.

"There will be many opportunities for tax firms," a senior income tax officer tells us. "All oil and gas companies will hire tax consultants for GST implementation."

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