Goods and Services Tax is by far one of the most awaited tax reforms in the country. It would be a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India, to replace taxes levied by the central and state governments. Goods and Services Tax would be levied and collected at each stage of sale or purchase of goods or services based on the input tax credit method. This method allows GST-registered businesses to claim tax credit to the value of GST they paid on purchase of goods or services as part of their normal commercial activity. Taxable goods and services are not distinguished from one another and are taxed at a single rate in a supply chain till the goods or services reach the consumer. Administrative responsibility would generally rest with a single authority to levy tax on goods and services.Exports would be zero-rated and imports would be levied the same taxes as domestic goods and services adhering to the destination principle.
The following are the significant features of GST to be applicable in India-
GST is a tax on goods and services with value addition at each stage having comprehensive and continuous chain of set-of benefits from the producer's/ service provider's point up to the retailer's level where only the final consumer should bear the tax.
The 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill that will enable the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST), was passed in the Lok Sabha on 12 May 2015 and passed in Rajya Sabha on 3rd August, 2016.
*Taxes to Subsumed in GST : *
*Central Taxes to Subsumed*
1. Central Excise duty (CENVAT)
2. Additional duties of excise
3. Excise duty levied under Medicinal & Toiletries Preparation Act.
4. Additional duties of customs (CVD & SAD)
5. Service Tax
6. Surcharges & Cess
*State Taxes to subsumed*
1. State VAT / Sales Tax
2. Central Sales Tax
3. Purchase Tax
4. Entertainment Tax (not levied by the local bodies)
5. Luxury Tax
6. Entry Tax ( All forms)
7. Taxes on lottery, betting & gambling
8. Surcharges & Cess
*Applicability: of this Act*
(1) This Act may be called the *Central / State Goods and Services Tax Act, 2016.*
(2) It extends to the *whole of India / State's name.*
(3) It shall come into force on such date as the Central or a State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint in this behalf.
(4) While each State GST Act would extend to the relevant State, *the Central GST Act extends to the whole of India and includes Jammu & Kashmir ('J&K').*
*GST Act has*
4 Schedules &
1 GST Valuation Rule till now.
*GST Rates - Four-tier GST structure of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% finalised*
The GST Council on Thursday, 3rd Nov, 2016 decided to have four slabs under the GST regime with some changes from what union finance ministry proposed and a cess over the peak rate of 28% on luxury and sin goods for five years to compensate states for any revenue loss.
A four-tier GST rate structure would be 5%, 12%, 18%, 28%, finance minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the meeting. The finance ministry had earlier proposed to have 6%, 12%,18% and 26%.
Most of the food items would attract zero% rate. As much as 50% of consumer price index would be zero rated.
5% rate would be on other necessary goods such as soaps and others needed for daily uses.
Earlier proposal of the finance ministry to have 26% would be hiked to 28% but many items that were to attract 26% earlier would be brought down to 18%. These would include some white goods.
Above 28% would be a cess to be imposed on luxury cars, 'A' rated drinks and tobacco.
Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac instead had pitched for GST rate of 40% above 28% on these items.
The proposal of cess was made by the union finance ministry.
This cess, coupled with one on clearn energy, would yield the government Rs 50,000 crore, which is expected to be revenue loss for states in a year. However, cess would be reviewed every year on the basis of revenue loss to states.
The earlier proposal of levying 2% rate on gold was put on hold. The duty on gold would be decided later after assessing impact of these GST rates.