Goods and Services Tax (GST), the new direct tax system which the government plans to roll out from July 1, 2017 will make India one unified market and will bundle various state and central taxes under it. GST will be a single tax on the supply of goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer. Under GST, credit of input taxes paid at each stage will be available in the subsequent stage of value addition, which makes GST essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage. The final consumer will thus bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain, with set off benefits at all the previous stages. Before knowing how the net tax system will benefit various stake holders, let us see the various taxes that will subsume under it.
At the Central level, the following taxes are being subsumed:
-Central Excise Duty, Additional Excise Duty, Service Tax, Additional Customs Duty commonly known as Countervailing Duty, and Special Additional Duty of Customs.
At the State level, the following taxes are being subsumed:
– State Value Added Tax/Sales Tax, Entertainment Tax (other than the tax levied by the local bodies), Central Sales Tax (levied by the Centre and collected by the States), Octroi and Entry tax, Purchase Tax, Luxury tax, and Taxes on lottery, betting and gambling.
The implementation of GST will benefit all the stakeholders like various State and Central Governments, producers of goods and services or the business and industry and finally the end consumers. Let us see how different stake holders will be benefited from the implementation of GST.
What are the benefits of GST?
For business and industry
– GST will allow easy compliance: GST will be supported by a robust IT network-GSTN-which would be the foundation of GST regime in India. All tax payer services such as registrations, returns, payments, etc. would be available to the taxpayers online, which would make compliance easy and transparent.
-Uniformity of tax rates and structures: GST will ensure that indirect tax rates and structures are common across the country, thereby increasing certainty and ease of doing business. In other words, GST would make doing business in the country tax neutral, irrespective of the choice of place of doing business.
-Removal of cascading: The GST system will provide seamless tax credits throughout the value chain of a product, and across boundaries of States, which would ensure that there is minimal cascading of taxes and would reduce hidden costs of doing business.
– Improved competitiveness: Reduction in transaction costs of doing business would eventually lead to an improved competitiveness for the trade and industry.
– Gain to manufacturers and exporters: The subsuming of major Central and State taxes in GST, complete and comprehensive set-off of input goods and services and phasing out of Central Sales Tax (CST) would reduce the cost of locally manufactured goods and services. This will increase the competitiveness of Indian goods and services in the international market and give boost to exports. The uniformity in tax rates and procedures across the country will also go a long way in reducing the compliance cost.
For Central and State Governments
-Simple and easy to administer: Multiple indirect taxes at the Central and State levels are being replaced by GST. Backed with a robust end-to-end IT system, GST would be simpler and easier to administer than all other indirect taxes of the Centre and State levied so far.
-Better controls on leakage: GST will result in better tax compliance due to a robust IT infrastructure. Due to the seamless transfer of input tax credit from one stage to another in the chain of value addition, there is an in-built mechanism in the design of GST that would incentivize tax compliance by traders.
-Higher revenue efficiency: GST is expected to decrease the cost of collection of tax revenues of the Government, and will therefore, lead to higher revenue efficiency.
For the consumer
-Single and transparent tax proportionate to the value of goods and services: Due to multiple indirect taxes being levied by the Centre and State, with incomplete or no input tax credits available at progressive stages of value addition, the cost of most goods and services in the country today are laden with many hidden taxes. Under GST, there would be only one tax from the manufacturer to the consumer, leading to transparency of taxes paid to the final consumer.
-Relief in overall tax burden: Because of efficiency gains and prevention of leakages, the overall tax burden on most commodities will come down, which will benefit consumers.
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