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Posted at: Feb 7, 2018, 12:49 AM; last updated: Feb 7, 2018, 12:49 AM (IST)CAREER COMPASS: GST TAX CONSULTANTS

On a bullish note

Gauri Chhabra

It is the best of times and it is the worst of times. The budget 2018 comes as a mixed bag. It is the first union Budget after the implementation of GST in July 2017. After its implementation, most provisions of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) were tweaked and tax rates of numerous products were reduced in subsequent GST council meetings which resulted in a sharp decline in government’s tax collection figures. The implementation of this new tax regime has  opened a host of job opportunities in the accountancy and taxation consultancy field. Let us take a look:

Work profile

Tax consultant, also known as tax advisor is an experts in tax law, planning and compliance. He serves businesses and individuals alike by staying current on new tax law and positioning taxpayers for short and long -term tax optimisation. A tax consultant typically expands on the role of tax preparer. While tax consultants prepare tax returns, they also often work closely with clients throughout the year to ensure client tax liability is minimised. 

Tax consultants are strong written and verbal communicators able to explain tax law and strategies in a way that is accessible and easy for clients to understand. 

Tax consultants work for public accounting firms, law offices, financial consulting firms and many even have their own independent tax preparation and consultation businesses. In all settings, tax consultants can be expected to perform duties that include:

  • Conducting research on tax laws
  • Strategising with clients to minimise tax liability
  • Communicating with clients to explain tax issues
  • Preparing tax returns
  • Estate planning
Producing written content is a significant part of the job, as tax consultants must communicate their research findings, including changes in tax laws, that create opportunities for new tax strategy. Because a tax consultant may have many clients affected by the same issue, the ability to draft a well-written and concise letter is often the most effective means of disseminating information to a number of different clients.

Examinations

To be a tax consultant, you need to be a commerce graduate. You will need to get into a professional course like CA, ICWAI or MBA followed by a Tax Consultancy course. One can opt for various courses in taxation. Some of the courses that can be done are: the certification course in taxation, degree course in taxation, doctorate level course. 

Institutes and Certificate Courses

 To cope up with the ongoing changes in GST and to bring greater awareness about the new tax proposals and policy, the Indirect Taxes Committee of the ICAI has introduced the Certificate Course on GST. The objective of this course is to enhance knowledge as well as to provide benefit to the members in the global service market. It aims to facilitate members in industry as well in practice by providing specialised and updated knowledge in the area of GST in a systematic manner and enhancing analytical and problem-solving skills for decision making. 

All the members of the ICAI i.e. chartered accountant, who is a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India constituted under this Act 1949) are eligible for this course. It is of 10 days duration and is available in two options — weekends and weekdays from Monday to Friday.

Cleartax: It offers a comprehensive learning programme for CAs, CS, law practitioners, legal consultants or on GST prepared by various indirect tax experts. You can grasp basic to the most advanced concepts of GST supported by e-learning videos,quiz and webinars to respond to the queries.

TaxGuru : Various batches for online certification courses are being organised by the the GST professionals and Taxguru to make people understand this new taxation system in the best way.

ChalkStreet: A solution for tax professionals, legal consultants, accountants, students or even a casual taxable person. This comes loaded with a number of useful videos, pdf files, webinars and tests as well.

GST centre : You shall get a whole range of GST courses and diplomas in GST like a beginners course, an intermediate course, an expertise course or a business management course.

ICT Academy : ICT Academy is an initiative of the Government of India and has been selected by NACEN, Government of India for undertaking training on GST. 

New avenues

In this journey towards a newer tax regime, fresh avenues have started blooming which has brought about 20 per cent average growth rate of niche tax firms. 

Boutique tax firms

The complexity of GST is being taken up seriously by companies who want to avert all sorts of associated risks. The timing is certainly apt for carving out a niche for all boutique tax firms in India and the increasing need for tax consultants. Most of the organisations have started discussing taxation in boardrooms and are trying to mitigate any risk arising out of it. This increased focus because of the associated complexity has increased the involvement of senior tax experts. In SMEs and promoter-driven organisations, preference for boutique and smaller firms have been there for many years as they are skeptical about sharing all confidential information which includes their personal taxation data with the larger firms. 

Additionally, senior level personalised attention by  hand holding the promoters by take for example, consultancy firm Ernst & Young India. In its Indirect Tax practice, the firm has seen over 60 per cent increase in hiring. Almost all of its Indirect Tax hiring in FY2017 was GST related. 

Therefore, for all those who are in accountancy, taxation, and financial management, there are some exciting times ahead.

Institute scape

  • Cosmic Business School, New Delhi
  • St. Peter's College, Kochi
  • IGSS, Bangalore
  • Nagpur College of Taxation, Nagpur
  • St. Xavier's College, Kolkata
  • Symbiosis Law School
  • India Law Society Law College
  • Balaji Law College, Pune
  • Arihant Education Foundations, Arihant college of Commerce, Pune

Tax consultant

GST has widened the scope for taxation consultants. Tax advisors have an important role to play in advising clients on the tax implications arising out of business transactions and ensuring that clients are well versed with tax laws. Various other sectors like e-commerce, retailing, manufacturing, services, logistics, supply chain, banking and financial sector will see a substantial rise in the job opportunities in the upcoming season. Many large corporates have set up special GST cells internally to deal with the new tax regime. 

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