GST or the Goods and Services Tax is an indirect tax that replace most of the taxes that are imposed on all goods and services (except a few) under a single banner. This is in contrast to the current system, where taxes are levied separately on goods and services. The GST, however, is a comprehensive form of tax based on a uniform rate of tax for both goods and services. However, the GST is payable only at the final point of consumption.
GST is a tax on goods and services with comprehensive and continuous chain of set-off benefits from the producer’s point and service provider’s point upto the retailer’s level. It is essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage, and a supplier at each stage is permitted to set-off, through a tax credit mechanism, the GST paid on the purchase of goods and services as available for set-off on the GST to be paid on the supply of goods and services. 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.
An empowered committee was set up by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2000 to streamline the GST model to be adopted and to develop the required backend infrastructure that would be needed for its implementation.
In his budget speech on February 28, 2006, P. Chidambaram, the then Finance Minister, announced the target date for implementation of GST to be April 01, 2010 and formed another empowered committee of State Finance Ministers to design the roadmap. The committee submitted its report to the government in April 2008 and released its First Discussion Paper on GST in India in 2009.
The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on December 19, 2014, and passed by the House on May 6, 2015. In the Rajya Sabha, the bill was referred to a Select Committee on May 14, 2015. The Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha submitted its report on the bill on July 22, 2015. The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 03, 2016, and the amended bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on August 08, 2016.
The Act was passed in accordance with the provisions of Article 368 of the Constitution, and must be ratified by more than half of the State Legislatures. The bellow mention Stats are ratifies the bill:
Other states has called for special session to ratify GST by month end. It appears that by September 15, 2016 the GST bill will be ratified by required number of State Legislatures. So it is likely imminent that GST may be implemented w.e.f. April 01, 2017.
♣ GST ON INTERNATIONAL LEVEL
GST is one of the widely accepted indirect taxation system prevalent in more than 150 countries across the globe. Globally, GST has been structured as a destination based comprehensive tax levied at a specified rate on sale and consumption of goods and services within a country.
CURRENT RATE OF GST IN SOME OTHER COUNTRIES ARE:
♣ IMPLEMENTATION OF GST
Goods and Services Tax (GST), which aims to simplify indirect tax regime, will be a ‘game- changer’ for the country and its implementation is likely to take place from April next year.
According to Japanese financial services major Nomura, GST is a game changing indirect tax reform and its implementation would have a positive for growth in the long term. “While short-term macroeconomic implications of GST should be mixed, longer term, implementation should lift growth and enable greater general government fiscal consolidation,” Nomura said in a research.
While the government has been trying to implement a GST for the past five-six years, it has never been so close, political consensus now seems to be changing in favour of GST. The global brokerage believes, apart from simplifying the indirect tax structure, the GST should help to create ‘One’ India by eliminating geographical fragmentation.
The GST is facing hurdles in the Upper House. We expect these hurdles to be cleared soon and implementation to take place from April 2017. Implementation of the GST will be generally positive for consumption – related sectors (like auto, consumer durables and FMCG) and cement, given the potential reduction in tax incidences. For sectors like utilities and pharma, GST implementation will have a ‘neutral to negative’ impact, while the services sector is likely to see a negative impact from higher tax burdens, it added. The Goods and Services Tax seeks to bring a uniform tax structure subsuming a number of imposts and the government claims that it will help add 1 to 2 % to the country’s GDP.
♣ IMPORTANCE OF GST TO THE ECONOMY
In sum, implementation of a comprehensive GST in India is expected to lead to efficient allocation of factors of production thus leading to gains in GDP and exports. This would translate into enhanced economic welfare and returns to the factors of production, viz. land, labour and capital.
The changeover to GST is designed to be revenue neutral at existing levels of compliance. Given the design of the flawless GST, the producers and distributors will only be pass through for the GST. Further, given the single and low rate of tax the benefit from evasion will significantly reduce. Therefore, there will be little incentive for the producers and distributors to evade their turnover. Accordingly, this policy initiative should witness a higher compliance and an upsurge in revenue collections. This will also have an indirect positive impact on direct tax collections. Further, given the fact that GST will trigger an increase in the GDP, this in turn would yield higher revenues even at existing levels of compliance. Another important source of gain for the Government would be the savings on account of reduction in the price levels of a large number of goods and services consumed by the Government.
GST WILL POSITIVELY IMPACT THE COMMON MAN IN MANY WAYS:
♣ GST MODEL IN INDIA
The taxation of goods and services in India has, hitherto, been characterised as a cascading and distortionary tax on production resulting in mis-allocation of resources and lower productivity and economic growth. It also inhibits voluntary compliance. Therefore, it is necessary to replace the existing indirect tax system by a new regime which would foster the achievement of the following objectives:
a. The incidence of tax falls only on domestic consumption;
b. The efficiency and equity of the system is optimized;
c. There should be no export of taxes across taxing jurisdictions;
d. The Indian market should be integrated into a single common market;
e. It enhances the cause of cooperative federalism.
With a view to attaining the objectives set out above, the task force on GST recommended a VAT type Goods and Services Tax (GST).
♣ CONCEPT OF DUAL GST
In a federal country like India where the power to tax domestic trade is divided between the Central Government and the State Government, the designing of a destination based GST becomes extremely complicated. A conventional national GST cannot be implemented without the States losing their fiscal autonomy. However, this is not feasible since revenues from State VAT account for substantial proportion of State’s revenues. Therefore, the solution has to be found within the existing federal framework where both levels of Governments have the concurrent powers to tax domestic trade in goods and services.
With Constitutional Amendments, both CGST and SGST will be levied on import of goods and services into the country. The incidence of tax will follow the destination principle and the tax revenue in case of SGST will accrue to the State where the imported goods and services are consumed. Full and complete set-off will be available on the GST paid on import of goods and services.
Cross utilization of credit of CGST between goods and services would be allowed. Similarly, the facility of cross utilization of credit will be available in case of SGST. However, the cross utilization of CGST and SGST would generally not be allowed except in the case of inter-State supply of goods and services under the IGST.
♣ CONCEPT OF INTEGRATED GST (IGST)
The Empowered Committee has accepted the recommendation for adoption of IGST model for taxation of inter-State transaction of Goods and Services. The scope of IGST Model is that Centre would levy IGST which would be CGST plus SGST on all inter-State transactions of taxable goods and services. The inter-State seller will pay IGST on value addition after adjusting available credit of IGST, CGST, and SGST on his purchases. The Exporting State will transfer to the Centre the credit of SGST used in payment of IGST. The Importing dealer will claim credit of IGST while discharging his output tax liability in his own State. The Centre will transfer to the importing State the credit of IGST used in payment of SGST. The relevant information is also submitted to the Central Agency which will act as a clearing house mechanism, verify the claims and inform the respective governments to transfer the funds.
THE MAJOR ADVANTAGES OF IGST MODEL ARE:
♣ TAXES SUBSUMED UNDER GST
⇒ The following Central Taxes should be, to begin with, subsumed under the Goods and Services Tax:
⇒The following State taxes and levies would be, to begin with, subsumed under GST:
⇒Since all taxes on goods and services, levied by the Centre or the States, should be subsumed in the GST, the following other taxes levied by the States on goods and services should also be subsumed:
♣ TAXABLE PERSONS/ ENTITIES UNDER GST
The GST model is expected to cover all types of per sons carrying on business activities, i.e. manufacturers, job- workers, traders, importers, ex porters, all types of service providers, etc. If a Company is having four branches in four different States, all the four branches will be considered as taxable entities under each of the jurisdictions of State Governments concerned.
PERSON IS REQUIRED TO BE REGISTERED UNDER GST
♣ RATES OF TAX
The Empowered Committee has decided to adopt a two-rate structure – a lower rate for necessary items and items of basic importance and a standard rate for goods in general. There will also be a special rate for precious metals and a list of exempted items. For upholding of special need of each state as well as a balanced approach to federal flexibility, it is being discussed whether the exempted list under VAT regime including Goods of Local Importance may be retained in the exempted list under State GST in the initial years. It is also being discussed whether the government of India may adopt, to begin with, a similar approach towards exempted list under the CGST.
For CGST relating to goods, the State considered that the Government of India might also have a two-rate structure, with conformity in the levels of rate with the SGST. For taxation of Services, there may be a single rate for both CGST and SGST. The exact value of the SGST and CGST rates, including the rate for services, will be made known duly in course of appropriate legislative actions.
The rate is expected around 18% to 22%. After the Total GST Rate is arrived at, the States and the Centre will decide on the CGST and SGST rates.
♣ THRESHOLD EXEMPTION FOR GST
Threshold exemption is built into a tax regime to keep small traders out of tax net. This has three-fold objectives:
The present threshold prescribed in different State VAT Acts below which VAT is not applicable varies from State to State. A uniform State GST threshold across States is desirable and, it has been considered that a threshold of gross annual turnover of Rs. 10 lakh both for goods and services for all the States and Union Territories might be adopted with adequate compensation for the States (particularly, the States in North-Eastern Region and Special Category States) where lower threshold had prevailed in the VAT regime. Keeping in view the interest of small traders and small scale industries and to avoid dual control, the States also considered that the threshold for Central GST for goods may be kept Rs.1.5 Crore and the threshold for services should also be appropriately high.
♣ DESTINATION PRINCIPLE
A GST can be implemented under either the origin or the destination principle. Under the former, the GST is imposed on the value added of all taxable products that are produced domestically; under the latter, the GST is imposed on the value added of all taxable products that are consumed domestically. Obviously, the two principles are identical in a closed economy. In an open economy, the difference between them lies solely in their treatment of imports and exports: exports are taxed but imports are not under the origin principle, while just the converse holds under the destination principle. It is important to note that the distinction between the two principles is based on the location of production and consumption. In view of our recommendation for a consumption type GST and the need for increased international competitiveness, the task force recommended that –
♣ PLACE OF SUPPLY RULES
The rules and approaches vary across countries, the basic criteria for determining the place of supply (or place of taxation) in the case of services is as follows:-
a) Place of performance of service;
b) Place of use or enjoyment of the service or intangible property;
c) Place of location/residence of the recipient; and Place of location/residence of the supplier.
In defining the place of supply of services and intangible property, a distinction is often made between supplies made to businesses (B2B) and final consumers (B2C). In general, the place of supply in the case of Business to Business transaction is the place where the recipient is located or established regardless of where the services are performed or used. This is particularly in the case of intangible services like advisory or consulting services for which the place of performance is not important. Therefore, all such services rendered to a non-resident are zero-rated. By contrast, many Business to Consumer services tend to be tangible or physical in nature, e.g. haircuts, hotel accommodation, local transportation and entertainment services which are consumed in the place of their performance. Therefore, the place of supply in the case of Business to Consumer transaction is the place where the supplier is located.
The place of supply rules relate to international transactions of goods and services and also apply to inter-state supplies. However, in practice there are substantial deviations in these rules. The recipient of the services may be located in more than one state and there is no practice to determine the residency of the recipient unlike in the case of international transactions. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to identify the place in which the recipient is established/ located. In general, it would be desirable to tax Business to Business supplies of services and intangibles in the State of destination, and not of origin.
Given that any tax on Business to Business supplies would generally be fully creditable, excessive sophistication would not be warranted for defining the place of destination of such supplies. For multi establishment business entities, the place of destination should be defined as the place of predominant use of the service. However, if there is no unique place of predominant use, the place of destination could be the mailing address of the recipient as stated on the invoice, which would normally be the business address of the contracting party. The risk of misuse of this rule would be minimal if it is limited to Business to Business supplies where the tax is fully creditable.
For Business to Consumer services, the place of supply should be the State in which the supplier is located, which, in turn, could be defined as the place where the services are performed. If there is no unique place of performance of the service, the place of supply could be defined as the State where the supplier’s establishment most directly in negotiation with the recipient is located.
♣ TREATMENT OF CAPITAL GOODS
The treatment of capital goods the task force recommended that:-
♣ TREATMENT OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS
One of the classes of products whose consumption needs to be checked to restrict negative externalities is petroleum products. The entire range of petroleum products is subject to multiple taxation at both the Central and State level. As a result, the incidence of tax on products essentially used as intermediate inputs cannot be estimated and leads to a cascading effect on downstream products. Consequently, it is necessary to rationalise the tax treatment of petroleum products.
The Task Force recommends a dual levy of GST and excise on the entire range of emission fuels. As a general rule, no input credit will be allowed to any person in respect of GST on the emission fuels since emission fuels are predominantly used in final consumption and has the potential for creating a flourishing market in trading of invoice and input tax credit. However, this general rule should be relaxed in the case of consumption of transportation fuels by the Ministry of Railways, the State Road Transport Corporations, the Airlines, truckers, taxi operators and a dealer16 trading in these goods on the consideration that the consumption is essentially intermediate in nature and the unlikelihood of these entities indulging in purchase of bogus invoices. However, in the case of truckers and taxi operators, the benefit of input tax credit has the potential of misuse and therefore credit may be allowed through the abatement mechanism only. Further, no input tax credit in respect of excise would be allowed to any other person.
The industrial fuels should be subjected only to GST (both Central and State) with the benefit of input credit like any other intermediate good. Both the Central and the State Governments may determine the appropriate revenue neutral rate of excise in the case of emission fuels.
♣ TREATMENT OF THE POWER SECTOR
The treatment of the power sector the Task Force recommended the following:-
The inclusion of the power sector in the GST model would significantly reduce the cost of power projects and consequently the cost of generation and distribution of electricity. As a result, it will improve profitability of power projects thereby attracting new investments into the sector. To the extent the cost of power will witness reduction, downstream industries will also benefit from cost savings and thus become internationally more competitive.
♣ TREATMENT OF TRANSPORT SERVICES
The treatment of transport services the Task Force recommended the following:-
♣ TREATMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES
Treatment of financial services the task force recommended that there are predominantly three alternative methods for levying GST on financial services: the exemption method, the zero rating method and the full taxation method. While the exemption method and the zero rating method reduces the potential GST base and also distorts consumption across financial services and other business services, the full taxation method significantly enhances the tax base and also results in equal treatment of all services. Therefore, the task force recommended that the consumption of financial services should be taxed on the basis of the full taxation method.
There are alternative approaches to full taxation of financial services. These are the addition method, the subtraction method and the cash flow method. The task force recommended that the choice of the method may be based on administrative and compliance consideration.
♣ TREATMENT OF SMALL SCALE INDUSTRIES
The small scale industries are generally wary of dealing with multiple tax administrations. Therefore, in order to inspire confidence of the small scale industry in the new GST framework, we also recommend that the scrutiny/audit of the small scale industry should be conducted only by the state tax administration. However, the State tax administration may seek the assistance of the central tax administration or any other state tax administration if the operations of the small scale industry transcend the state boundaries. Since the CGST and the SGST are proposed to be levied on an identical GST tax base, the outcome of any investigation impacting SGST will also have a corresponding impact on CGST. Therefore, enforcement by the State tax administration would be adequate to even deal with CGST evasion.
♣ COMPOSITION AND COMPOUNDING SCHEME UNDER GST
A Composition/Compounding Scheme will be an important feature of GST to protect the interests of small traders and small scale industries. The Composition/Compounding scheme for the purpose of GST should have an upper ceiling on gross annual turnover and a floor tax rate with respect to gross annual turnover. In particular there will be a compounding cut-off at Rs. 50 lakhs of the gross annual turnover and the floor rate of 0.5% across the States. Under this scheme –
♣ SCOPE OF WORK FOR PROFESSIONAL UNDER THE BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY PROCESS
♣ CONTRIBUTED BY
Mrs. Jaya Sharma-Singhania (Left)
Mrs. Hetal Chitroda (Right)
M/s. Jaya Sharma & Associates, Practicing Company Secretary Firm, Mumbai