GST: Simplified

GST is a destination-based tax on consumption of goods and services. It is proposed to be levied at all stages right from manufacture up to final consumption with credit of taxes paid at previous stages available as set off. In a nutshell, only value addition will be taxed and the burden of tax is to be borne by the final consumer. 

A few important points of consideration are given below: 

The tax would accrue to the taxing authority, which has jurisdiction over the place of consumption which is also termed as place of supply. 

1. The Existing Taxes that are proposed to be Subsumed under GST- 

The GST would replace the following taxes: 

(i) Taxes currently levied and collected by the Centre:

a. Central Excise duty 

b. Duties of Excise (Medicinal and Toilet Preparations) 

c. Additional Duties of Excise (Goods of Special Importance) 

d. Additional Duties of Excise (Textiles and Textile Products) 

e. Additional Duties of Customs (commonly known as CVD) 

f. Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD) 

g. Service Tax 

h. Central Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods and services 

(ii) State taxes that would be subsumed under the GST are: 

a. State VAT b. Central Sales Tax

c. Luxury Tax

d. Entry Tax (all forms)

e. Entertainment and Amusement Tax (except when levied by the local bodies) 

f. Taxes on advertisements

g. Purchase Tax

h. Taxes on lotteries, betting and gambling i. State Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods and services. 

The GST Council shall make recommendations to the Union and States on the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Centre, the States and the local bodies which may be subsumed in the GST. 

2. The Status of Tobacco and Tobacco Products under the GST Regime- 

Tobacco and tobacco products would be subject to GST. In addition, the Centre would have the power to levy Central Excise duty on these products. 

3.Type of GST proposed to be Implemented- 

It would be a dual GST with the Centre and States simultaneously levying it on a common tax base. The GST to be levied by the Centre on intra-State supply of goods and /or services would be called the Central GST (CGST) and that to be levied by the States would be called the State GST (SGST). Similarly, Integrated GST (IGST) will be levied and administered by the Centre on every inter-state supply of goods and services. 

4. Need for Dual GST-  India is a federal country where both the Centre and the States have been assigned the powers to levy and collect taxes through appropriate legislation. Both the levels of Government have distinct responsibilities to perform according to the division of powers prescribed in the Constitution for which they need to raise resources. A dual GST will, therefore, be in keeping with the Constitutional requirement of fiscal federalism.  

5. Authority to Levy and Administer GST-  Centre will levy and administer CGST and IGST, while states will levy and administer SGST.   

6. Benefits from GST-  Introduction of GST would be a very significant step in the field of indirect tax reforms in India. By amalgamating a large number of Central and State taxes into a single tax and allowing set-off of prior-stage taxes, it would mitigate the ill effects of cascading and pave the way for a common national market. For the consumers, the biggest gain would be in terms of a reduction in the overall tax burden on goods, which is currently estimated at 25%-30%. Introduction of GST would also make our products competitive in the domestic and international markets. Studies show that this would instantly spur economic growth. There may also be revenue gain for the Centre and the States due to widening of the tax base, increase in trade volumes and improved tax compliance. Last but not the least, this tax, because of its transparent character, would be easier to administer.  

7. Concept of IGST-  Under the GST regime, an Integrated GST (IGST) would be levied and collected by the Centre on inter-State supply of goods and services. Under Article 269A of the Constitution, the GST on supplies in the course of inter-State trade or commerce shall be levied and collected by the Government of India and such tax shall be apportioned between the Union and the States in the manner as may be provided by Parliament by law on the recommendations of the Goods and Services Tax Council.  

8. Deciding Authority for levy of GST- The CGST and SGST would be levied at rates to be jointly decided by the Centre and States. The rates would be notified on the recommendations of the GST Council.  

Tax reforms must be implemented. To improve revenue performance factors like globalization, large informal sectors and policies of neighboring countries must be considered. 

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