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How Does the Composition Scheme Under GST Benefit SME Businesses?

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By Sandipan Mitra
7 min read

How Does the Composition Scheme Under GST Benefit SME Businesses?

 Key Takeaways

  • Simplifies GST compliance with a fixed turnover rate payment.
  • Eligibility is capped at Rs. 1.5 crore turnover, lower for special states and selected service providers.
  • There is no interstate sales or input tax credit for scheme participants.
  • Offers lower GST rates for different business categories.
  • Simplified filing with quarterly and annual returns.
  • Excludes e-commerce sales and non-taxable goods supply.
  • Flexible opt-in and opt-out at the financial year’s start.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Composition Scheme is a tax simplification measure for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in India. It is designed to reduce the burden of compliance for small businesses by allowing them to pay GST at a fixed rate of their turnover rather than the standard rate.

This scheme is optional and primarily aimed at reducing compliance costs and simplifying the tax filing process for small businesses.

GST Composition Scheme Rules

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Composition Scheme is an initiative by the Indian government aimed at simplifying GST compliance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

It allows eligible businesses to pay GST at a fixed rate of their turnover, which is significantly lower than the regular rates. However, to avail of the benefits of the scheme, businesses must adhere to specific rules and regulations.

gst composition scheme rules

Key Rules of the GST Composition Scheme

Eligibility Criteria

  • The scheme is available to manufacturers, traders, and restaurants that supply services.
  • Only businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 1.5 crore (Rs. 75 lakhs for special category states) are eligible to opt for the scheme. Recently, the scheme was extended to service providers and mixed suppliers with a turnover of up to Rs. 50 lakhs.
  • Eligible taxpayers must apply for the scheme, which is optional.

Turnover Calculation

  • The turnover limit for eligibility includes the aggregate turnover of all businesses registered under the same PAN (Permanent Account Number).
  • Aggregate turnover includes taxable supplies, exempt supplies, exports, and inter-state supplies but excludes inward supplies under reverse charge and Central, State, Union Territory, and Integrated GST.

Restrictions

  • Businesses opting for the composition scheme cannot engage in interstate outward supplies of goods or services.
  • They are not allowed to supply non-taxable goods, such as alcohol for human consumption or narcotics.
  • Composition taxpayers cannot make supplies through e-commerce platforms that are required to collect tax at source (TCS).
  • They are not eligible to claim the input tax credit mechanism (ITC) on their purchases.

Tax Rates

  • The GST rates under the scheme are significantly lower. For instance, manufacturers and traders pay a GST rate of 1% (0.5% CGST + 0.5% SGST), restaurants not serving alcohol for human consumption pay 5% (2.5% CGST + 2.5% SGST), and service providers pay 6% (3% CGST + 3% SGST).

Compliance Requirements

  • Businesses enrolled in this scheme are required to file GST returns on a quarterly basis, unlike the monthly filings required for regular taxpayers.
  • On each notice or signboard prominently displayed at their place of business and on each bill of supply they issue, they must mention “Composition Taxable Person.”
  • They are required to issue a bill of supply instead of a tax invoice, as they cannot charge GST from their customers.
  • Annual return filing is mandatory under Form GSTR-4 by the 30th of April following the end of the financial year.

Opting In and Out

  • Taxpayers can opt for this scheme at the beginning of a financial year. They need to file an application electronically in GST CMP-02 form before the start of the financial year for which they wish to opt into the scheme.
  • To opt out of this scheme, taxpayers must file the GST CMP-04 Form.

Eligibility: Who Can Avail?

eligibility who can avail composition scheme

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Composition Scheme is tailored for small and medium businesses in India, offering a simpler compliance regime and a reduced tax rate. However, not all businesses are eligible to avail of this scheme. Understanding the eligibility criteria is crucial for businesses considering opting into the scheme.

Here’s a breakdown of who can avail of this scheme:

Businesses Eligible for the GST Composition Scheme

  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

The scheme is primarily targeted at SMEs to reduce their compliance burden.

  • Manufacturers, Traders, and Restaurants

Manufacturers of goods, traders, and restaurants not serving alcohol can opt for the composition scheme. It’s designed to benefit these sectors by simplifying tax calculations and filings.

  • Service Providers (With Limits)

Initially, the scheme was limited to manufacturers, traders, and restaurants. However, it has been extended to include service providers and mixed suppliers (those who supply both goods and services), with turnover threshold limits of up to Rs. 50 lakhs.

  • Annual Turnover Threshold

To be eligible for the composition scheme, a business’s annual turnover in the preceding financial year should not exceed Rs. 1.5 crore. This limit is reduced to Rs. 75 lakhs for special category states. It’s important to note that the business turnover threshold limit is subject to review and changes by the GST Council.

  • Specific Exclusions
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Certain businesses are explicitly excluded from availing of the GST Composition Scheme, regardless of their turnover. These include:

  • Interstate Suppliers

Businesses engaged in interstate supply of goods or services are not eligible for the composition scheme, as it aims to simplify tax compliance primarily for intra-state transactions.

  • E-commerce Sellers

Businesses that sell goods through e-commerce platforms that are required to collect tax at source (TCS) are ineligible for the composition scheme.

  • Non-taxable and Exempt Goods Suppliers

Suppliers of non-taxable goods, such as alcohol for human consumption, and those dealing exclusively in goods or services that are exempt from GST, cannot opt for the composition scheme.

  • Service Providers (Beyond the Specified Limit)

Service providers, except for restaurants, whose turnover exceeds the specified limit of Rs. 50 lakhs, are ineligible for the scheme.

  • Manufacturers of Notified Goods

Manufacturers of certain goods that have been specifically notified by the GST Council are also not eligible for the composition scheme.

Turnover Limit for Composition Scheme

turnover limit for composition scheme

The GST Composition Scheme is designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to reduce the burden of compliance by allowing them to pay GST at a reduced rate based on their turnover rather than going through the full tax calculation process.

Having knowledge of the turnover limit is essential for businesses considering this option.

Current Turnover Limit for the GST Composition Scheme.

As of my last update, the turnover limits for eligibility under the GST Composition Scheme are as follows:

  • For Manufacturers and Traders

The scheme is available to manufacturers and traders with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 1.5 crore in the preceding financial year.
This limit helps target the scheme towards small and medium-sized businesses.

  • For Special Category States

For certain special category states, the turnover limit is set at Rs. 75 lakhs. Special category states typically include northeastern states, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu & Kashmir. It’s important to check the latest updates, as these categories can change based on GST Council decisions.

  • For Service Providers

The GST Composition Scheme was extended to service providers and mixed suppliers (those supplying both goods and services), with a turnover limit set at Rs. 50 lakhs in the preceding financial year. This extension aimed to bring more small service providers under the ambit of the composition scheme, allowing them to benefit from simplified compliance and reduced tax rates.

Key Considerations Regarding the Turnover Limit

  • Aggregate Turnover: The turnover limit considers the aggregate turnover, which includes the total value of all taxable supplies, exempt supplies, exports of goods and/or services, and inter-state supplies of a person having the same PAN, but excludes central tax, state tax, union territory tax, integrated tax, and cess.
  • Notification and Changes: The GST Council may revise the turnover limits based on economic factors and policy goals. Businesses should stay updated with the latest notifications from the GST Council or the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to ensure compliance and eligibility.
  • Opting for the Scheme: Businesses that meet the turnover criteria and wish to opt for the composition scheme must file an application at the beginning of the financial year for which they want to opt into the scheme.

Benefits of Opting for Composition Scheme

Opting for the GST Composition Scheme offers several benefits for eligible small and medium businesses:

  • Reduced Tax Liability: Businesses pay GST at a significantly lower fixed rate on their turnover, reducing their overall tax burden.
  • Simplified Compliance: The scheme simplifies the tax filing process, requiring fewer compliance filings (quarterly returns instead of monthly returns).
  • Lower Compliance Costs: With simplified compliance and accounting requirements, businesses incur lower costs in managing GST filings and record-keeping.
  • Increased Liquidity: Lower tax rates and simplified procedures improve cash flow and liquidity for small businesses, supporting their operational needs.
  • Ease of Doing Business: The scheme reduces the complexity of GST rules for small businesses, making it easier for them to focus on their core operations.

Drawbacks of the Composition Scheme

However, not all that glitters is gold. Opting out of the regular GST regime means no input tax credit, and restrictions on interstate sales might feel like sailing against the wind for some and many more reasons mentioned below.

DrawbackExplanation
Limited Territory for Business OperationsBusinesses cannot engage in interstate sales or exports, limiting their market reach.
No Input Tax Credit (ITC)Under the composition scheme, taxpayers cannot claim credit for input on their purchases.
Restrictions on Customer BaseIneligible to supply goods through e-commerce platforms, limiting online sales opportunities.
Inapplicability to Service ProvidersOnly select service providers are eligible, excluding many from the scheme.
Tax Rate on Total TurnoverTax is paid on total turnover without deducting expenses, which could lead to higher taxes for businesses with low profit margins.
Compliance upon WithdrawalTransitioning back to the regular GST regime requires adjustment and might involve complex compliance requirements.

Tax Rates Under the Scheme

The tax rates under this scheme are like calm seas—lower and more predictable. They vary by business type, offering a simpler calculation method.

The tax rates applicable under the GST Composition Scheme, as of the last update, are as follows:

  • Manufacturers and Traders of Goods: 1% GST (0.5% CGST + 0.5% SGST) on the turnover of taxable supplies. This rate is applicable to manufacturers and traders of goods.
  • Restaurants Not Serving Alcohol: 5% GST (2.5% CGST + 2.5% SGST) on the turnover. This rate applies to restaurants that do not serve alcoholic beverages for human consumption.
  • Service Providers and Mixed Suppliers: 6% GST (3% CGST + 3% SGST) on the turnover. This category includes service providers and those who supply both goods and services, with a recent extension allowing such businesses to opt for the composition scheme if their turnover does not exceed Rs. 50 lakhs.

Filing Composite GST Returns: A Simplified Process

Filing returns under the composition scheme is akin to navigating calm waters. It’s simpler, requires fewer details, and is less time-consuming.

Step 1: Opt-In for Composition Scheme: Businesses must first opt into the composition scheme by filing Form CMP-02, indicating their choice to be taxed under this scheme.

Step 2: Quarterly Return Filing: Instead of monthly returns, composition dealers are required to file a simplified quarterly return using the GSTR-4 form, summarizing their total sales and the GST paid at the composition rate.

Step 3: Annual Return Submission: In addition to quarterly returns, composition dealers must file an annual return using Form GSTR-9A, providing a comprehensive summary of their yearly sales and taxes paid.

How to Apply for the GST Composition Scheme

Applying for the GST Composition Scheme is a straightforward process designed to facilitate small businesses in opting for a simpler tax compliance regime. Here are the steps involved in applying for the scheme:

Composition Gst Registration | GST Registration Composition Scheme | Composition GST Scheme
  • Log into the GST Portal

Businesses need to access the GST portal (www.gst.gov.in) using their valid credentials (GSTIN, username, and password).

  • Navigate to the Application Form

Once logged in, navigate to the ‘Services’ menu, select ‘Registration’, and then choose ‘Application to Opt for Composition Levy’.

  • Fill in the Details

Complete the form (GST CMP-02) by providing the required details, including the sector of business (manufacturing, trading, and services) and the financial year from which the composition scheme is sought.

  • Submit the Form

After filling in the details, verify the declaration and submit the form. A confirmation acknowledgment will be generated upon successful submission.

  • File Form GST ITC-03 (If Required)

Businesses already registered under GST and switching to the composition scheme must file Form GST ITC-03 within 60 days of commencement. This form is used to declare the details of the inputs held in stock, inputs contained in semi-finished or finished goods held in stock, and capital goods for which input tax credit has been availed, on the date preceding the date of opting for the composition scheme.

  • Compliance with Composition Rules

Upon opting for the composition scheme, ensure compliance with all the scheme’s rules, including restrictions on interstate supplies, issuance of a bill of supply instead of a tax invoice, and the payment of tax at prescribed rates without availing input tax credit.

  • Annual Renewal

It’s important to note that opting for the composition scheme is not a one-time process. Businesses need to assess their eligibility and opt-in for the scheme at the beginning of each financial year if they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

Returns to be Filed by a Composition Dealer

A Composition Dealer under the GST regime is required to adhere to a simplified compliance schedule compared to regular taxpayers. Here are the returns that a composition dealer needs to submit:

  • GST CMP-08

Frequency: Quarterly
Purpose: This form serves as a statement of self-assessed tax for the quarter. Composition dealers must pay the tax due by the 18th of the month following the quarter.

  • GSTR-4

Frequency: Annually
Purpose: This annual return summarizes the turnover details, tax paid, and other relevant information for the entire financial year. It must be filed by the 30th of April, following the end of the financial year.

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Conclusion

The GST Composition Scheme offers a streamlined approach for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in India, simplifying tax compliance and reducing tax rates.

While it presents advantages like simplified filings and lower compliance costs, businesses must weigh these against restrictions such as no input tax credit and limitations on interstate sales.

Deciding to opt for the scheme requires careful consideration of its impact on business operations and growth potential. Ultimately, the scheme can be beneficial for SMEs that operate predominantly within their state and can manage without input tax credits, making it a practical choice for those looking to minimize administrative burdens associated with GST compliance.

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FAQs

Who is eligible for the GST composition scheme?

The GST Composition Scheme is available to small taxpayers whose annual turnover does not exceed ₹1.5 crore (₹75 lakh for special category states). This scheme allows eligible businesses to pay GST at a fixed rate of their turnover and simplifies GST returns, making it a viable option for smaller businesses seeking to reduce compliance costs. However, it’s important to note that service providers (except those providing food or drink for consumption) and businesses making interstate supplies are not eligible for this scheme.

Can I avail of an input tax credit under the GST composition scheme?

No, taxpayers registered under the GST Composition Scheme cannot avail of the input tax credit. This is because the scheme allows for the payment of GST at a reduced rate on the total turnover but restricts the taxpayer from claiming input tax credit on their purchases.

Are interstate sales allowed under the GST composition scheme?

No, businesses registered under the GST Composition Scheme are not permitted to engage in interstate sales. This scheme is designed for small businesses that operate predominantly within their own state. The restriction on interstate sales helps maintain the simplicity of the scheme, which offers a lower tax rate but limits certain activities, including the interstate supply of goods and services, to reduce compliance complexities for smaller businesses.

What are the tax rates under the GST composition scheme?

Under the GST Composition Scheme, different tax rates apply depending on the nature of the business: manufacturers and traders are typically subject to a GST rate of 1% (0.5% CGST + 0.5% SGST), restaurants not serving alcohol are charged at 5%, and other service providers eligible under the scheme are taxed at 6%. These rates are significantly lower than the regular GST rates, aiming to simplify compliance for small businesses.

How do I opt for the GST composition scheme?

To opt for the GST Composition Scheme, you must first ensure that your business qualifies based on the turnover criteria and other eligibility conditions. You can opt in by filing Form GST CMP-02 with the GST portal, expressing your intention to adopt the scheme, before the start of the financial year for which you want the scheme to apply. Additionally, you need to file Form GST CMP-04 if you were previously registered under the regular scheme. It’s crucial to complete these steps within the prescribed timelines to successfully switch to the composition scheme.

Can I switch back to the regular GST scheme after opting for the composition scheme?

Yes, you can switch back to the regular GST scheme from the GST composition scheme. To do so, you must file Form GST CMP-04 to withdraw from the composition scheme. This decision can be made at any time during the financial year, but it is important to ensure compliance with the regular GST requirements from the date of switching, including issuing proper tax invoices and maintaining detailed transaction records to enable claiming and tracking of input tax credit.

What are the compliance requirements for businesses under the GST Composition Scheme?

Businesses under the GST Composition Scheme have simplified compliance requirements compared to those registered under the regular GST system. They are required to file a quarterly return using Form GSTR-4 and an annual return using Form GSTR-9A. Additionally, these businesses are not allowed to issue tax invoices or collect GST from customers, as they pay GST at a fixed rate based on their turnover. They must also display a sign at their business premises indicating that they are registered under the GST Composition Scheme.

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