Goods & Service Tax (GST) – Impact on Bloggers

There’s a lot of hullabaloo about the GST that’s got everyone in a fit.

There are a lot of us who will be affected by it. Even a blogger will be affected by this change.

But before I explain this concept to you, let me first walk you through the concept of GST.

Goods and service tax is like one indirect tax for India.

Usually, there are many stages of how a product/item is created and then sold. There are many stages right from the manufacturer to the seller and finally to the consumer i.e. us.

There are a lot of taxes hidden in each stage due to which a product which was created for 5 rupees went through every stage and finally got sold for 20 rupees to the consumer.  That time, all those service recipients had to pay service tax too. Hence after every stage, the cost kept on increasing and in the end, we had to pay more for that product or service.

Earlier, there was no defined system of any service recipient to take credit for “credit for goods purchased and vice versa”.

What happened later is that since they didn’t claim the credit, they added that amount to the cost and the product got costlier for us to buy or the service got costlier to avail.

So to let go of all these taxes, the GST has arrived.

While this is good news, there are lots of other places where we shall be affected.

There will be many products which will be dearer than before. Many services, where the taxes will increase etc.

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Impact of GST on bloggers:

As of 1st July, we bloggers will be subjected to 18% GST on annual income exceeding 20 lacs per annum. This will only be applicable to a few bloggers out of many.

It’s better than those whose blogging revenue is less than 20 lacs per annum should not register for GST as the filing procedure is tedious. There is filing 3 returns every month. On average that would mean 37 filings in a year including an additional annual return. Too much paperwork!

Earlier, blogging services were subject only to service tax. The minimum limit for that was 10 lacs per annum. Now they will be subjected to the GST from 1st July 2017.

Not only are bloggers affected by this sudden change. The PR agencies also have their own sets of problems. Earlier they used to have a small checklist that would filter the bloggers they needed for campaigns and assignments. Now, GST will be another important factor in deciding which bloggers can get the opportunity. Why do I say so?

If the blogger is not registered for GST, then the PR would have to pay according to the reverse charge mechanism. This would just increase their costs. To offload such costs, they will pay lesser to bloggers. Our loss in the long run.

As per the corporate policies of MNC’s and other top companies, they usually register as a “Vendor” only with GST registrations.

Hence there is a fear that newbie bloggers and bloggers with lesser projects on their plate may never be able to get registered with such big brands for work. That would be quite a morale downer.

Another disadvantage of the GST being applied is the fact that blogging in India is still at a developing stage and is not matured enough for such a change. The remuneration is increasing but not at a scale that can benefit all.

Bloggers earning a decent amount will not be able to hire services of professionals/consultants to help them file their returns always. The simple fact is the amount we earn will be used by us to pay for the consultant’s fees. So there is no win for sure but perhaps a loss.

In conclusion, apply for GST only if you fit the bracket of earnings over 20 lacs per annum. Also, brace yourselves for pricing changes in the market for campaigns and assignments. It’s highly possible there will be a change due to the tax component kicking in a couple of days!

Picture credits: News24 and Yourstory

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