All you need to know about GST
The Constitution Amendment Bill for Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been approved by The President of India post its passage in the Parliament (Rajya Sabha on 3 August 2016 and Lok Sabha on 8 August 2016) and ratification by more than 50 percent of state legislatures. The Government of India is committed to replace all the indirect taxes levied on goods and services by the Centre and States and implement GST by April 2017.
With GST, it is anticipated that the tax base will be comprehensive, as virtually all goods and services will be taxable, with minimum exemptions.
GST will be a game changing reform for the Indian economy by creating a common Indian market and reducing the cascading effect of tax on the cost of goods and services. It will impact the tax structure, tax incidence, tax computation, tax payment, compliance, credit utilization and reporting, leading to a complete overhaul of the current indirect tax system.
GST will have a far-reaching impact on almost all the aspects of the business operations in the country, for instance, pricing of products and services, supply chain optimization, IT, accounting, and tax compliance systems.
Are you ready for GST?
GST would bring in significant change in doing business in India. Advocacy for best practices, gearing up for changes in processes, training teams and developing IT systems for being GST compliant are the key areas to be assessed.
The Government is committed to introduce GST by April 2017. Tax payers need to be GST compliant to be able to test system changes in time. Depending on the operating geographies, size and sector, the changes would be substantial and may require proactive planning with a time-bound action plan.
In order to prepare for the implementation of GST, companies need to understand GST policy development and its implications for scenario planning and transition roadmap preparation.
Impact of GST on your Business
|Pricing and profitability||
|System changes and transaction management||
The key imperatives for companies are:
- Understand key areas of impact in their business
- Prepare different scenarios for the design and application of GST
- Continually track policy development regarding GST and update prepared scenarios
- Identify any areas of adverse impact and prepare contingency measures
- Identify issues and concerns requiring representation to authorities and develop a strategy for effective advocacy
ALS has been closely involved with the GST initiative through its Policy Advisory Group - it comprises a specialized team of experienced professionals, including former government officials who advise businesses as well as governments on diverse policy issues. The Group helps businesses anticipate policy changes, assess their impact on their operations, and engage in a constructive dialog with relevant authorities for remedial measures to address any concerns. The Group has diverse VAT and GST experience throguh extensive interactions with both the Centre and the State Governments in India and overseas engagements in various jurisdictions.
- A GST Council consisting of representatives from the Centre as well as State will be formed within 60 days of the enactment of the Bill. The Council will make recommendations to the Union and the States on model Goods & Service tax laws, rates including floor rates with bands of goods & service tax,, Place of Supply rules and any other matter relating to GST as the Council may decide.
- Reports of Joint Committee constituted by Empowered Committee of the State Finance Ministers on business processes of payment, registration refund and return under GST have been released and put in the public domain for suggestions.
- The draft model GST Law was released and put in public domain in June 2016.
- GST Network, an IT backbone of GST, which will facilitate online registration, tax payment and return filing, will be launched.
- States will frame their respective GST Legislations to enable them to implement GST. It will be in line with the Central GST Legislation.
Salient features of the proposed Indian GST system
- The power to make laws in respect of supplies in the course of inter-state trade or commerce will be vested only in the Union Government. States will have the right to levy GST on intra-state transactions, including on services.
- The Centre will levy IGST on inter-state supply of goods and services. Import of goods will be subject to basic customs duty and IGST.
- GST is defined as any tax on supply of goods and services other than on alcohol for human consumption.
- Central taxes such as Central Excise duty, Additional Excise duty, Service tax, Additional Custom duty and Special Additional duty as well as state-level taxes such as VAT or sales tax, Central Sales tax, Entertainment tax, Entry tax, Purchase tax, Luxury tax and Octroi will subsume in GST.
- Petroleum and petroleum products, i.e., crude, high speed diesel, motor spirit, aviation turbine fuel and natural gas, shall be subject to GST - date to be notified by the GST Council.
- Provision will be made for removing imposition of entry tax /Octroi across India.
- Entertainment tax,, imposed by states on movie, theatre, etc., will be subsumed in GST, but taxes on entertainment at panchayat, municipality or district level will continue.
- GST may be levied on the sale of newspapers and advertisements. This would mean substantial incremental revenues for the Government.
- Stamp duties, typically imposed on legal agreements by states, will continue to be levied.
- Administration of GST will be the responsibility of the GST Council, which will be the apex policy making body for GST. Members of GST Council comprise Central and State ministers in charge of the finance portfolio.
GST is a value-added tax levied at all points in the supply chain with credit allowed for any tax paid on input acquired for use in making the supply. It would apply to both goods and services in a comprehensive manner, with exemptions restricted to a minimum.
In keeping with the federal structure of India, it is proposed that GST will be levied concurrently by the Centre (CGST) and the states (SGST). It is expected that the base and other essential design features would be common between CGST and SGST across SGSTs for individual states. Both CGST and SGST would be levied on the basis of the destination principle. Thus, exports would be zero-rated, and imports would attract tax in the same manner as domestic goods and services. Inter-state supplies within India would attract an Integrated GST (aggregate of CGST and the SGST of the destination State).
In addition to the IGST, in respect of supply of goods, an additional tax of up to 1% has been proposed to be levied by the Centre. Revenue from this tax is to be assigned to origin states. This tax is proposed to be levied for the first two years or a longer period, as recommended by the GST Council.
Benefits of GST
GST has been envisaged as an efficient tax system, neutral in its application and distributionally attractive. The advantages of GST are:
- Wider tax base, necessary for lowering tax rates and eliminating classification disputes
- Elimination of multiplicity of taxes and their cascading effects
- Rationalization of tax structure and simplification of compliance procedures
- Harmonization of center and state tax administrations, which would reduce duplication and compliance costs
- Automation of compliance procedures to reduce errors and increase efficiency
The GST structure would follow the destination principle. Accordingly, imports would be subject to GST, while exports would be zero-rated. In the case of inter-state transactions within India, State tax would apply in the state of destination as opposed to that of origin.
Taxes to be subsumed
GST would replace most indirect taxes currently in place such as: