GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Ms PREETI KHURANA
EDITOR IN CHIEF – CLEARTAX
Sunday, 19th August 2018: “There is no rest for the wicked.” This idiom was tailor-made for the Great Lakers. When the world enjoys quiet and lazy Sunday mornings, the ambitious Great Lakers are always up and ready in their sharp business formals, armed with their laptops and notepads, to welcome an industry guest in the campus for an interactive learning session. This week we met Ms Preeti Khurana Chief Editor, ClearTax, who expounded the various nuances of the tax filing system, elaborated on the recently implemented GST tax structure and gave the students a holistic view of the Indian tax regimen.
ClearTax began as an “Individual tax return filing” platform. It has now ventured into multiple areas including Tax Cloud which is a bulk return filing system for Chartered Accountants. Along with possessing a dedicated “GST Return System” which facilitates GST invoicing, returns, supplier performance reporting and online e-way bill generation, it also has its own “Investment platform” which is regarded as the #1 platform in India for mutual fund investment. Another differentiated category which ClearTax caters to is the “Start-up regulation”. It helps start-ups remain cognizant of the compliances, manages their accounting and bookkeeping and expedites their tax filing. It is also instrumental in providing comprehensive knowledge about tax regimes, investment and accounting to the people.
Ms Preeti Khurana
Ms Preeti Khurana is currently associated with ClearTax as the Editor in Chief. Prior to this, she has served as a Budget Manager and an Assistant Manager at American Express and PwC respectively. She completed her C.A in 2004 and started her career with PwC. Post that she joined American Express where she spent 7 years of her corporate career, but later on, realized that she wanted to pursue something more exciting. It was then she decided to call it quits and joined ClearTax. At ClearTax she serves in various capacities, which includes customer support for tax filing, sales pitching for the product as well as drafting the complete tax guide at the portal which even a layman could understand. She believes that if you put in your best efforts to accomplish a goal, you will definitely be able to achieve it.
Recent changes in the Financial Services
Ms Khurana started by stating “The future is paperless and presence less” owing to the recent developments on the technological fronts, and how it has impacted the financial sector. She explained that this change has vastly opened up the business avenues by broadening the target market in terms of the tech-savvy users, but it has also opened up new challenges regarding issues like data privacy and data theft. She also talked about how the cumulative use of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the face of the Financial Services sector and how the business is being transacted in the global space. “Heightened need for collaboration and threat of competition coupled with the massive amount of regulatory oversight would be prevalent in the times to come” said Ms Khurana. Commenting on the differentiation that the financial companies face, she said that though these organizations are extremely asset light, their core investment area turns out to be data security, rules around which are yet to be framed and this would have several major implications on the taxation.
She also took the students through the worldwide taxation phenomenon and reiterated that how digital companies like Facebook and Instagram would face challenges in their taxation policies in the times to come owing to the digitalization and globalization. These companies which initially accounted their taxes based on the presence of a Permanent Establishment (PE) will now also be forced to pay taxes in countries where they have a significant economic presence in terms of revenues and subscriber base. This, she said, would have several ramifications as the International Tax laws and treaties would have to be revised. There are also humongous challenges with regard to generation, storage and retrieval of such large amounts of data.
The Goods and Services Tax or the GST implementation was also expounded by Ms Khurana. The students were awestruck with how she explained the entire GST regime in such a lucid manner. She explained the need for switching to the GST system and the flaws which were present in the indirect tax system which led to cascading of taxes, non-compliance and difficulties in tax filing procedures. She further elaborated on how GST has simplified the entire system by bringing all the taxes into the ambit of a single one and the simplification of input credit claims by suppliers, the launch of the e-way bill to prevent leakage of revenues and the easy tracking of the movement of goods throughout the country. Ms Khurana stated that although the new system has simplified the entire tax structure, it has a downside in the form of costs of compliance shooting up, discrepancies in the dating and receiving of tax bills and proper mechanisms to track the interstate movement of goods and contingencies in tax filing for real estate.
To conclude, it was a fruitful session which helped the students in understanding the nitty-gritty of the tax structure and the recent developments in the global marketplace. This knowledge will be a great asset to the students not only aspiring for a career in finance but every single one of us.
Author: Bhawna Ahuja
PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon