The budget 2017, as expected has neither proposed anything specific nor has resulted any change in the existing indirect tax laws .
The entire budget could however reflect a strong will to implement GST at an earliest possible date.
The Budget as presented on 1st February 2017 has only quick reference to GST with its broader outline and undergoing preparation to Implement GST in India.
The much talked about date of implementation of GST by 1st July 2017 was also not even whispered rather the finance minister has talked on the following( for the sake of brevity , the actual speech has been bifurcated and a separate heading has been given) :
Goods and Service Tax
101st Constitutional Amendment
“178.There has been substantial progress towards ushering in GST, by far, the biggest tax reform since independence. Since the enactment of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016, the preparatory work for this path-breaking reform has been a top priority for the Government.
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In this context, several teams of officers both from the States and Central Board of Excise and Customs have been working tirelessly to give finishing touch to the Model GST law and rules and other details.
Government on its part has promptly given effect to various provisions of the Constitutional Amendment Act, including constitution of the GST Council. Since then, the GST Council held 9 meetings to discuss various issues relating to GST, including broad contours of the GST rate structure, threshold exemption and parameters for composition scheme, details for compensation to States due to implementation of GST, examination of draft model GST law, draft IGST law and the Compensation Law and administrative mechanism for GST. It is my privilege to inform this august house that the GST Council has finalised its recommendations on almost all the issues based on consensus and after spirited debate and discussions.
The preparation of IT system for GST is also on schedule. The extensive reach-out efforts to trade and industry for GST will start from 1st April, 2017 to make them aware of the new taxation system.”
Implementation of GST
“179. Centre, through the Central Board of Excise & Customs, shall continue to strive to achieve the goal of implementation of GST as per schedule without compromising the spirit of co-operative federalism. Implementation of GST is likely to bring more taxes both to Central and State Governments because of widening of tax net. I have preferred not to make many changes in current regime of Excise & Service Tax because the same are to be replaced by GST soon.”
It is pertinent to refer that concluding speech of budget under serial no.178 & 179 has only quick reference to GST. Whereas, the total serial numbers in the speech were upto 182 only.
In lieu of GST, almost negligible changes were made in indirect taxes.
However, the changes in advance ruling authority and settlement commission were done as a signal that the same provisions shall be borrowed under GST regime as well.
Further, GST Council in its 9th meeting held on 16th January 2017 has almost zeroed upon various crucial aspects related to GST i.e levy by states 12 nautical miles , sharing of asesee’s below Rs 1.5 crore in proportion of 90 %(state) and 10% (centre), distribution of asesee’s above Rs 1.50 crore in ratio of 50% each beside finalising the draft GST Act,2016 and vetting of IGST Act,2016.
The aforesaid in totality supports the claim that GST will be implemented in 1st July 2017.
Anandaday Misshra, Founder Advocate, AMLEGALS
( The author is one of the leading litigation and advisory advocate. He is an eminent speaker and author on various laws including GST. He handles cases in various Tribunals & High Courts of India. )