A Comparative Outlook Of Goods And Services Tax
The GST is a new regime in the world of indirect taxes. It is a tax on the sale of goods and services and a uniform rate is applied to all kinds of goods and services. It is proposed to be brought into force from 1st of April 2017. All the complications which people faced while filing their indirect tax returns are said to be removed by GST. Besides, introduction of GST also paves way for the foreign investors to invest in India. Further,it is expected that GST will ease the operations and provide ease of entry for global dealers.
To have an insight of GST knowing the objectives is important. The basic objectives of GST are listed below:
- The whole of Indian market must be integrated as one global village having a uniform rate
- The working efficiency of the indirect taxes department must be increased. The formalities are made much easier with the introduction of GST.
- The tax incidence must have an impact only on the domestic consumption and not on industrial consumption.
- To reduce tax evasion by making it compulsory to get GST registration for all businesses carrying on business in sale of goods and services.
- To remove the cascading effect of taxes. In present,we tend to pay taxes on taxes leading to double taxation. This problem is solved by GST.
- The cooperative federalism would be built between the central and the state governments.
- The existing confusions about the indirect tax rates especially the service tax and State VAT ought to be solved once GST is in force.
The GST model
The GST council has decided that the taxes would be collected by both central and state governments. There are 3 wings of GST:
- Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) which is imposed and collected by the central government on interstate sales.
- State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) which is levied and duly collected by the respective state governments on local sales.
- Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) which covers those which are not covered in the above two and collected by the central government.
The principle of set off and input credit
The set off benefit is made available to the people who would have purchased goods with the intention of sales. Thus they can set off the GST which is paid. But there are specific provisions regarding the set off. Some basic rules being:
- The taxes which are paid against the CGST should be taken as the credit when the same goods are being purchased and sold.
- The SGST cannot be set off with the CGST. It can be set off against the IGST if there is any surplus available.
- Cross set off between the CGST and SGST is strictly prohibited by the GST law.
- But on purchase of capital goods, the set off can be made between the CGST and SGST. Thus the government is encouraging the purchase and sale of capital goods.
Few exemptions to be provided by the GST as suggested by the GST council
In the prevailing indirect laws like service tax, there is a mega exemption list which exempts few kinds of services from the levy of service tax. Similarly, the GST council has laid down that GST also should be providing some exemptions to certain range of goods and services. A list of such goods and services proposed to be exempted from levy of GST are:
- All government public services inclusive of the following:-
- Government schools and colleges
- Defense department
- Police departments
- Intelligence and verification departments
On the other hand, the following services are not going to have exemptions:
- Banks and insurance companies
- Post and telegraph
- Railway department
- Commercial departments
- Education and health departments
- Any sale of food articles which are unprocessed and which are covered under the public distribution system.
- Health and education services which are provided by the non-governmental establishments.
- Any transactions of service contract between an employee and his employer for the service provided as well as service received.
- GST exempts goods including alcoholic products, tobacco products and emission fuels.
- Also petroleum products and natural gas are outside the ambit of GST and they would continue to be levied and collected by the central government.
The taxes to be subsumed by GST and its impact
The central levies which will be subsumed by GST once it comes into force are listed below which helps us to have a comparative analysis:
- Central excise
- Service tax
- Additional customs duty
- All cesses and surcharges
These taxes would no longer continue to apply. They shall cease to be collected from the central government. Thus the service industries which face a lot of confusions and dilemmas while they undertake filing of service tax returns will be benefitted by GST. The excise and customs too will have fewer complications now and the customs clearance offices will be benefitted to a great extent by GST.
State levies which would be subsumed in GST are:
- State VAT
- Entry tax
- Luxury tax
- Entertainment tax
There are differential rates in the state VAT and people face difficulties in determining the rate. GST would fix that problem. Also, the sky scrapping rates of entry tax and luxury taxes are washed away benefiting mostly the customers.
Thus the introduction of GST will lower the prices of many products and services. There will be a uniform rate applicable to the whole of India. All the confusions about the differential rates would thus be removed by GST. The tax authorities too are benefitted as they don’t have to crack their heads searching for what rate is applicable to what kind of product. The collection of revenue would be regular to the government as the GST would be made compulsory to all indulged in sale of goods and services. At the end of the day, except for few industries or categories, majority of the tax stake holders are going to be benefitted by the GST. Whole of India is looking forward to the introduction of GST with their fingers crossed!
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