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The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) industry stands as the growth engine of the Indian economy, contributing significantly to the nation’s GDP, exports, and employment. Currently the sector accounts for 30% of the country’s GDP, 48% of total exports, and employ around 40% of the total workforce. Despite their significant role in the socioeconomic development of the country, MSMEs face multiple challenges, including poor access to finance and working capital requirements. To safeguard the interest of the MSMEs, the government introduced section 43b (h), of the Income Tax Act last year.

The amendment mandates adherence to payment deadlines of 45 days by the corporates to clear dues of MSMEs, to avoid additional tax burdens on outstanding dues. While these amendments aim to instil financial discipline, and safeguard MSMEs against delayed payment but its impact is felt by both the MSMEs and their corporate counterparts. This regulatory shift highlights the importance of timely payments, placing added pressure on businesses to manage their cash flow effectively.

As this is the first year of change in Section 43B, corporates face the challenge of balancing their payment obligations with maintaining liquidity reserves.

For instance, manufacturing companies heavily reliant on MSMEs for raw materials and ancillary services may experience disruptions for tax benefit if the due payments to MSMEs are not released in current FY. Similarly, service industries, including IT and hospitality, may encounter cash flow constraints, impacting their ability to meet operational expenses and invest in growth initiatives. Addressing these challenges warrants innovative financial solutions that promote liquidity and financial stability.

Also identifying effective solutions to mitigate these impacts is imperative. One such effective solution is the Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS), as it helps in adhering the payment deadline set by the amendment in the tax regulations. This also ensures adequate finance for the cashflow and working capital requirements while facilitating smoother financial transactions.

By leveraging TReDS, the enterprise can make payments due to MSMEs vide TReDS and release the payment to TReDS as per their original plan.

For example, if an invoice of Rs 100 is raised by MSME on their corporate today with payment due before March 31st, and it remains unpaid beyond the 45-day limit, it will be disallowed as an expense in the current year for the corporate. The expense will only be recognized once the dues are paid in subsequent FY.

By discounting the bill on TReDS, MSMEs can obtain funds as per due date, and corporates can maintain a normal credit cycle, as they can defer payment until the regular billing cycle without facing penalties. This arrangement satisfies both financial and tax requirements, for MSMEs and corporates.

By utilizing TReDS, corporates can streamline their payment processes, ensuring timely disbursement to MSME suppliers. This not only aids in meeting payment deadlines but also helps in avoiding additional tax burdens on outstanding dues.

The benefits of TReDS extend beyond addressing immediate liquidity challenges. By facilitating quick access to finance for MSMEs, TReDS promotes economic growth and financial inclusion. MSMEs, empowered with timely access to funds, can invest in business expansion, technology adoption, and talent development, driving productivity and competitiveness. Additionally, TReDS encourages a healthier credit ecosystem by providing MSMEs with an alternative financing avenue, reducing their reliance on traditional lenders and mitigating the risk of loan defaults.

As businesses navigate the evolving regulatory landscape shaped by tax reforms, innovative solutions like TReDS emerge as indispensable tools for promoting financial endurance and inclusivity. By utilizing TReDS, businesses can not only address the challenges posed by the amendment to Section 43b (h) but also unlock new opportunities for growth and collaboration. As we embrace the era of digital transformation, harnessing the power of platforms like TReDS becomes imperative for building a vibrant and sustainable business ecosystem in India.

The author is Promoter & Director, M1xchange

  • Published On Mar 23, 2024 at 12:45 PM IST

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