WHAT IS GST? – INTRODUCTION

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2014, seeks to amend the Constitution of India to facilitate the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India. The proposed amendments in the Constitution will confer powers both to the Parliament and the State legislatures to make laws for levying GST on the supply of goods and services on the same transaction.

Why GST is introduced?

Multiplicity in Taxation: Presently, the Constitution empowers the Central Government to levy excise duty on manufacturing and service tax on the supply of services. Further, it empowers the State Governments to levy sales tax or value added tax (VAT) on the sale of goods. This exclusive division of fiscal powers has led to a multiplicity of indirect taxes in the country. In addition, Central Sales Tax (CST) is levied on inter-State sale of goods by the Central Government, but collected and retained by the exporting States. Further, many States levy an entry tax on the entry of goods in local areas.

This multiplicity of taxes at the State and Central levels has resulted in a complex indirect tax structure in the country that is riding Along with hidden costs for the trade and industry due to No uniform tax rates and structure across States. Also the Cascading effect resulted in artificial inflation.

What is the GST Structure?

The proposed dual GST envisages taxation of the same taxable event, i.e., supply of goods and services, simultaneously by both the Center and the States. Therefore, both Centre and States will be empowered to levy GST across the value chain from the stage of manufacture to consumption. The credit of GST paid on inputs at every stage of value addition would be available for the discharge of GST liability on the output, thereby ensuring GST is charged only on the component of value addition at each stage. This would ensure that there is no ‘tax on tax’ in the country.

The benefits of GST

GST will simplify and harmonize the indirect tax regime in the country. It is expected to reduce cost of production and inflation in the economy, thereby making the Indian trade and industry more competitive, domestically as well as internationally. It is also expected that introduction of GST will foster a common or seamless Indian market and contribute significantly to the growth of the economy.

GST will broaden the tax base, and 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.