NEW DELHI: Both Houses of Parliament have recently passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill. Moreover, President has also given assent for the much-anticipated bill. The GST Council has been formed and work for the development of IT infrastructure has already started. However, students appearing for Chartered Accountancy (CA) courses are under confusion regarding the applicability of the new law for their examinations.

The main confusion is whether the GST will be applicable for CA IPCC May 2017 and CA Final May 2017 exams. According to teachers, GST will not be applicable for May 2017 examinations. This is because the final bill has to be drafted and notified by the Central Government. As of now, the GST has only been approved by the government.

Preparation of new study materials

As soon as the Central Government notifies the bill, the ICAI board will take the GST bill into consideration. This is because there will be changes to the draft and final bill. The ICAI team will then prepare study materials for CA IPCC and CA Final Exams. Without study materials, students will not be able to learn the GST bill.

Study material preparation process takes at least 6 months

Even though there will be plenty of GST related books, students require study material for learning. The procedure for preparation of materials will take a minimum of 6-8 months. Hence, students need not have to expect the GST applicability only from December 2017 examination.

New GST will be applicable from May 2018 CA exams

According to sources, the new study material for CA IPCC and CA Final students incorporating the changes from GST will be available in the months of September or October 2017. Hence, it is evident that GST will not be applicable for November 2017 CA IPCC and CA Final exams as well. However, students will have to prepare themselves for GST from May 2018 exam session.

Commenting on the development, an ICAI council member, who declined to reveal the identity, said that the applicability of new CA syllabus is likely to be postponed by a year. Hence, the GST could be inserted into the Tax Syllabus of CA IPCC and CA Final courses.

Students require six months to prepare with new GST course material

It requires at least six months for the students to prepare themselves with the help of new study materials. It is to be said that the existing laws will become obsolete after the arrival of GST. Hence, there will be no use if students learn them by skipping GST. Most likely, ICAI will issue study materials in the form of rough paper with periodic online updates instead of hardcopy from May 2017.

New syllabus for CA courses expected

The introduction of GST will coincide with the new CA syllabus. Hence, you can expect ICAI to replace the existing Indirect Taxes syllabus with the new GST.

In addition to CA, various universities will have to update their syllabus of commerce courses. Moreover, Cost Accountants and Company Secretary bodies will also have to update their syllabus accordingly.