INTERVIEW WITH GST EXPERT CA SHAIFALI GIRDHARWAL BY CA SUDHIR HALKHANDI

Dear Friends, on 16th April I have interviewed GST Expert and Natural orator CA Shaifali Girdharwal. She is a girl from small town called Muzaffar Nagar, Near Meeruth (UP) and now turned into a a successful Professional in the National Capital, Delhi.

She served the profession with her special knowledge of GST through her Videos on her You Tube channel. These videos are source of basic knowledge on GST and its Technicalities.

Her success story may inspire the others and will give proper guidance how to work with techniques and spread the knowledge with its help. She has a perfect knowledge of Goods and Service Tax which itself is a very complex piece of taxation Law along with a very good quality of speaking and she has used the both for the benefit of tax payers of the county.

Every Professional must be inspired with the Story of CA SHAIFALI GIRDHARWAL. Let us have a talk with CA Shaifali Girdharwal-

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI:- Welcome CA Shaifali Girdharwal in My program “Know Your GST Expert by Sudhir Halakhandi”. How you are passing the lockdown time? You are a busy professional working so hard and now you have to keep yourself at Home. I know it is necessary but it must be very difficult for busy professional Like You?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Thanks sir for giving me the opportunity to share this platform with you. Actually I am quite occupied nowadays. First to do household chores and then the team is working from home. So managing them, it’s important to keep their morale high at this time. So even if there is no important task…I give them some tasks to keep them alive…professionally. It gives strength and motivation.

CA SHAIFALI GIRDHARWAL

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: First of all accept my congratulations for your successful YouTube channel on GST in Hindi. It has 2.32 K subscribers. Amazing!

How you got the idea of videos in Hindi on GST and how you developed this idea in practicality.

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Thank you so much sir. Initially I realised that it is hard for newcomers to use formal platforms. There is no formal channel except to go and meet some members and ask them for a favour. Being a girl I feel that we should be very selective while asking for a favour, unless you know how exactly it is supposed to be returned. Then initially we all were reading the drafts of GST but there were fewer people to discuss. So I started it to connect with more professionals and to know where I am wrong or misinterpreting provisions. We get views of others …many times they may change your thought process.

Now let us come to the development part. We started with Canon Camera….but we had to spend a lot of time at Chandni Chowk Camera market…most of the equipment was not available. Then when you buy a camera you come to know the limits of lenses. Had to buy many lenses to improve bokeh effect.

I remember , Once we needed to shoot a video for Girish Ahuja sir, and clip of Lapel mic was lost…We had to search the entire Lajpat Nagar and Nehru place for it. Luckily now we can find many things online.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Good Shaifali It is not a very easy task but you are doing very good Job.

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Thank you sir.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Shaifali lot of study is required for these tasks. When you started study of GST? It just before the GST or you were already prepared for it?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: We started many months before it was implemented. I would like to compliment our ICAI for incorporating a deep desire to learn during our student days. The first seminar I attended for GST was of CA Rajat Mohan Ji. It was quite motivating. Then I started to give most of the time to GST. I believe in one thing,when you stick to something, after a time that thing also gets stuck to you.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Shaifali you are a successful YouTube. Please tell me the biggest compliment you received for your GST channel on YouTube? Even sometimes to get the quick insight of a subject I used your videos.

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: I can say after my channel, most of the invitations I received for seminars were due to the Channel. At Jaipur in a seminar at Birla Auditorium, One consultant came to me and said mam I am running my GST practice watching your videos. He was from some very small place. He had a deep feeling of regard. At that moment I actually realised that for many people it is not possible to come to a big town and we lack resources at small places. In every seminar I found 4-5 people knowing me in advance. It was only because of my Channel. This was the best feeling to meet them personally.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: GST was introduced in India with a big fanfare. What are your feelings after 30 Months? The performance of GST is up to the mark or something is still lacking in it?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Communication between the lawmaker and IT translator. We all blame GSTN and yes they deserve it. But I have personal experience of developing 2-3 portals. With that small experience I can understand the limits of a Coder, A developer don’t know law. Very strong guidelines were required and then testing before making it live. If CBIC request, we can do it for free. All of us are doing it. See annual return, you just post a form and our entire community is engaged in decoding it. We have such an enthusiastic fraternity. Hard working. The government could have utilized us in a much better way in testing.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: SHAIFALI JI Now a very big issue. What is your concrete opinion about GSTN? Is it one of the major reasons of debacle?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Sir it may be but we don’t know what they were communicated. A php developer is definitely not aware of ITC provisions. How far speed is related. They never got enough time to work on niche. They were just fixing the bugs. New form …. New return ……. Why it was implemented when portal was not ready. If you will force deliver a 3-4 months baby and ask him to run. It’s not possible.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Ok there may be a problem … But it is between Govt. and Service provider…Why Dealers should suffer?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Exactly that is the worst part. Why taxpayer should be penalised. I get many calls from people watching my videos. Say you started a business, got registration but it is not working well. You forgot and got occupied in normal work. Now after 2 years you came to know that there is a lacs of late fees. At least small businesses shall not be liable for any late fees for late filing. If they have liability you are charging interest then why there is a late fee?

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Shaifali you know late fees is controversial matter even with the inception of GST. The sufferers are linking it with the problems of GSTN and general feeling is that when everything is on Trial and Error basis then why a late fee is there on Dealers? What is your opinion about this controversial matter? It should be refunded back?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: I completely borrow your view. When the portal is not working, why there is a late fee. There are many genuine cases where it is required to be refunded. But It doesn’t seem to be the intention of govt. especially for GSTR-3B, they are so adamant.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Shaifali ji, GST was introduced with a promise of Simplification. Now Dealers and professionals are asking where the Simplification is. What is your opinion on this matter?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: How far simplification is concerned, there are some changes every now and then. In months we can’t even fix the dates properly. See the worst example of GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C. It wasted many many months of all consultants. In the end you just made the information optional. This is the level of improvement. Like form is fixed, no matter how many lacunas it has. It will not be changed at all. It forced a lot of useless analysis and wasted resources. It could have been made with the help of professionals to better serve the purpose. I can’t see any fraud or error to come in picture due to GSTR-9 or GSTR-9C .Just feeding your system with more and more data will waste the time at both of the sides

There can be a much simpler format. We can have a monthly return and we don’t even need to give any further information in annual return. No fraud can sustain if monthly filing is smooth. But this is a bureaucratic mentality to get all the useless data but don’t spend time on its analysis.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Shaifali Do you agree that for want of revision facility of GSTR B Annual returns have lost their purpose and almost all the assessment are likely to be made by issuing Notices?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Yes, and trust me there is no reason to not to allow GSTR GSTR-B revision except that GSTN can’t do this. Then to hide this failure they came up with the idea of a new return. You simply open GSTR-1 at the time of filing GSTR 3B and if I declare anything less than I declared in GSTR-1, ask me to correct the invoice. Things will get resolved very smoothly.

Sending the advisory and notices in bulk itself indicates the failure of the IT system. We went for IT to avoid one to communication from the department. If the number of notices is increasing in place of reduction, it’s a failure of the complete thought process of getting the things online.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: So automation lost its purpose. It is not a good situation.

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: yes, Not a very good situation? Of course not. In a case of refund, after that online dashboard from 26th Sept and We had to file same refund many times. But if you are making something online, just remove a human intervention. If there is a time limit of say 15 days to respond, the system should automatically send RFD-02. Months lapsed but no reply is there. If everything is online then there should not be any room for human intervention.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: But the refunds from IceGate are very fast!!

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Yes, see no human intervention there hence the work is smooth and fast. That is exactly my point.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: CA Shaifali, now one more question about your GST Videos. Do you prepare a script first or everything is on instant basis? Both are good and accepted methods but which one is your choice?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: It is always without a script. I can’t speak over a script.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Nice that’s why you are called a natural orator.

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRADHRWAL: Thank you sir. Even in seminars, I was used to preparing PPT’s but when I am on dais I always forgot to refer to those slides.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: This is a sign of a good expert and natural orator. You have both the qualities.

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Thank you sir, but this shows Mismanagement also. If I need to suggest I will say go with PPT, It will reduce your load.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: SHAIFALI GIRDHARWAL, which instruments say camera etc. do you use for recording? There are so many aspirants throughout the country who wants your guidance? In nutshell please tell us what is required to prepare a good video?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Ok. We use Canon 80D …. Earlier we had 70D and 650 also then for voice although we have many mics.. Road mike is good, we have Fifine also. For camera shooting Boya lavalier mic is best … Then for editing, we tried many software. Recording from this camera creates very large files. Then at the time of editing it increases its size to double or triple sometimes. We use macbook pro to edit it.

It inspired me for more creativity, we wanted to start a standup comedy channel too…but looking at the level of efforts I dropped the idea. Large size of files is a big issue. Sometimes even Mac can’t handle it

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Amazing Shaifali!!!! You are a CA!! How do you know all these technicalities?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Its credit goes to my IT partner. We developed Consultease together. I will say only one line. Things are not as simple as they appear from outside. I saw an interview of renowned You Tuber Amit Bhadana…how he was used to editing the file by iPhone and one day he spent 4-5 hrs in editing and when he uploaded, FB removed it quoting copyright. In another case, he finds his file is crashed. That happened to us also. One day after shooting – videos when I tried to check it, the card was empty!!! There were tears in my eyes. At another day, the mic failed, its battery was discharged. No voice in video!! I mean everything in this world has its own problems and bad phases. But we should hold on for each of that situation.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Any incidents of retakes .again and again?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: No, We never had to go for a retake except that voice and card failure issue.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Shaifali, One hour is already over. Are you comfortable? Should i carry on?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Yes sir, I just didn’t realise that one hour has passed… Sure Sir, Please carry on.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: What is your opinion about strict provisions of section 16(4) and 36(4) which are hurting the Dealers very badly? What is the need of such type of strict provisions at the initial stage of GST which GST itself is struggling for stability?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Right. ITC is the vested right of a taxpayer. Making these provisions quoting the number and volume of GST frauds is certainly against the soul of GST. It is a value-added tax and ITC is the base of that value-added feature. Provisions like 36(4) forces a fear into the brain of taxpayer.

Especially the matter of quarterly filers is completely ignored by the government. If there are frauds you have section 74 to make a recovery. But punishing the entire masses for some of those incidents is not fair at all.

Once a taxpayer has to pay tax via cash ledger in spite of having paid ITC to the supplier, the first thing came into their mind is to hold the sale for some time. These kind of strict provisions force taxpayers to go for parallel transactions.

Our manufacturing sector is already suffering from a cash crunch. We have huge plans to ditch Chinese products but unless our industry will feel safe in manufacturing, how we will be able to produce a replacement. When there is no proper funding mechanism, at least they should not be forced to pay the same amount twice. Service sector too have its own woes. Specially at this time an environment of trust is required to boost the economy.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Members are keener about YouTube channel. May I ask one more question?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: sure.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: There are many young professionals who intend to be good presenters on Social Media Platforms and Webinar’s..You are a role model for them.. Firstly..What is the difference between presentation in a seminar and through webinar..?How to engage audiences in webinar’s and what is the advice which you would like to give to be a good orator…

(Question just received from CA (Dr.) Arpit Haldia.)

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: First of all, I am quite average as a presenter. Still I will say webinar is almost twice as difficult from a seminar. In seminar you can take a pause, you can ask people to participate, you can ask them to repeat. Take a small break but in webinar you will have to be active all the time .Then you have to read the questions and reply. The most difficult part is there is no one is there if it is a video, speaking while looking into a black space. Many people find it uncomfortable but now the good thing is you can shift the focus on your presentation and you can be relax.

During my GST course, there were instances when I was having extreme headache or fever, I just off the webcam, closed my eyes and delivered. Staff was there to shift slides. I did complete session in closed eyes, when I lost my vision in last winters. So base line is, give it a try and you will discover the rest. Everyone will have a different journey. Now it is very competitive. Professions are changing very fast.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Shaifali GST in Hindi. It is an amazing Idea. What was Source and inspiration?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: The entire North Indian belt is Hindi speaking. I don’t understand when two Indians are communicating why they need to speak in any foreign language. It connects a huge belt of our country. Why the knowledge shall be restricted to English speaking people only.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Now one question on GST Council. Shaifali, GST Council is meeting almost every month and also trying to solve the problems created by initial strictness of GST. There is one opinion that the process of problem solving and simplification is very slow. Even GST Council’s decisions are not implemented timely. What is your opinion in this very important matter?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: It is clearly mentioned in Article 279A, inserted via 101st Constitutional amendment Act that council is the body to make recommendations. It was a beautiful concept wherein all the states will have their representatives but a fight between the greed and fair. Council recommends something and then the FM’s taking part in that meeting doesn’t even understand the impact of that decision. I think problem is top down state FM’s. They find their vested benefits explained to them by their own bureaucrats.

There is lack of actual decision making. They want to call spade a spade but then revenue losses may be there. Decision is not only on right wrong but also on losing the money.

See the matter of interest… After Megha engineering, interest notices with bank accounts attachment was in bulk in Telangana. Even smallest of cases were not spared. So yes we want to generate revenue, but how? I remember once Modiji give an example of giving interest free loan to the industry, equal to the amount of tax they paid. We should think of something like this and not like the interest, late fees and ITC blockage.

I use a simple line for this mentality, “Sone Ka Anda Dene Wali Murgi Aapko usse wealth to chahiye but Aap use kaat nahi sakte”.

We need to take care of this. It’s on Govt. to decide, you want to nurture it or cut it down.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: There is growing Demand of bringing Petroleum products under GST. What is your opinion about it? There is one more opinion lawmakers will bring Petroleum products under GST with blocking the ITC. Now there are two questions for you in this matter.

First is it possible to get any decision from Lawmakers in near future. Second if petroleum products will come into GST with blocked credit what will the meaning of such inclusion?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: The government provide subsidy on petroleum. If you will see the BS of IOCL, they incur losses but Govt. covers it via bonds. With the reduced usage and price crash, we can expect a breather. Till now states were so adamant on sitting on petroleum products. But in future, it may not be that lucrative. Again it will be quite difficult to get a unanimous vote in council.

But once it is done it will be better for industry. Government intervention shall be minimum for any industry. Bring it to a normal system and it will find a way for smooth processing.

Now Tax without ITC, A calculation to make it revenue neutral will be required. The States will have their own fear. You have noticed that many states are not getting their share of tax from center. In some of cases GST officers called taxpayers and asked them to levy C+S instead of IGST!!!! They said that central Govt. is not paying their money.

So I feel it will be very difficult to get the consent of states over this issue. Also we lost the leadership of Shri Arun Jaitely ji. If you recall in all meeting under his leadership, decisions were unanimous.

At least for 2-3 years, I can’t see any breakthrough in this area.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Shaifali Now something about our profession. How do you see entire GST practice and its future? The professionals have taken so much burden at the initial stage of practice. There was so much tension?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: It’s very important question. We can divide the entire GST practice into parts. Compliance ….. Consulting and … Litigation. Hardcore compliance is time-consuming; you have to deal with a machine. But you can delegate it to your staff with proper training. In consulting again, you may fix a sector for yourself or two three sectors. You can take the help of experienced staff but final ball game will be in your hands.

How far the litigation is concerned, It can again be divided into two parts. Up to tribunal and courts. For the second one you will have to take COP as a Lawyer so we need to fix what exactly we want to focus upon.

It depends on personal interest. You may go with bulk filing or pure consulting or litigation but I will suggest that don’t go for all of them.

One very interesting point in GST every important provision of GST is under litigation at some stage. See ITC, GSTR 3B being return of section 39, 16 (2), 16 (4), section 16 (4). So a lot of uncertainty means we have a good future ahead.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Now something for Girls who are taking this profession. The number is growing day by day. What is your message for the Girls who are going for this Degree and specially those who are opting for practice? You are an icon now so you opinion and message is very important. Please…

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Sir I am so humbled when you use this word icon. In most of my seminars, I search for a girl sitting in-crowd. Very few of them I find. Mathura and Agra branch were the exception. If you are taking a degree, embrace the profession. Move from your house and comfort zone. Take the bold step to go outside

When I first decided to go for an audit outside my city, my family had apprehensions. When I decided to come to Delhi, again there were issues. But at the end of the day, everyone will support you. Your parents care shall not be taken as an obstacle. It is for the guardian also, when a girl goes for an audit, there is there is nothing to feel unsafe. At present Work opportunity is the same both for boys and Girls so there should not be any restrictions on Girls, if they want to enter in this profession.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: The girls are now 25% of total fraternity and mostly in Service ?

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: It should be the choice of a person, male or female. But they shouldn’t be forced to service sector because she is a girl. It should be by choice. Doing a job is a great professional service. I see both practice and services with the same eye.

Q. SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Shaifali everybody knows you are a successful GST professional. Please tell something about your journey so far and further some interesting aspect.

Ans. CA SHAFALY GIRDHARWAL: Every journey is almost the same. We have some good times and some boring moments. Two things I have learnt to control. Appreciation and numbers. If you see a number of say 10 Cr, it doesn’t mean that 9 Cr is small. Its human mentality that once we reach a number we feel every lower number is inferior. So control your brain when it’s a bad day or bad phase.

Appreciation: we all feel good when appreciated, but doing what you like even if no one is appreciating and even some are criticizing. I love to create the things. Meanwhile one basic feature I discovered is that we all feel content when we create something.

Basic human nature is as soon as you see a problem you start to find a solution. I am also the same every time I see a problem I try to solve it. This make us owner of more than domains and + trademarks & many of them are unexplored. Very soon I will be going to introduce an android app. So all these things give me happiness to create. That’s it

SUDHIR HALAKHANDI: Thanks Shaifali for Nice, Intelligent and Long conversation with you.

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