Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal, FCA, FCS

 Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal

The Union Government has introduced the four GST related Bills in the Parliament (Lok Sabha or lower house) on 27th March, 2017.  These four bills moved in the lower house of Parliament are the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Bill, Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Bill, the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill and the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (UT-GST) Bill.

These Bills are crucial to implement the goods and services tax in India which is most likely to be from July, 2017. The draft of these Bills were approved by the Union Cabinet on 21st March, 2016 after all hurdles were addressed in last GSTC meeting (12th one) held on 16th March, 2017.

It may be noted that apart from these four legislative Bills, yet another crucial Bill, SGST Bill is required to be legislated by all 31 State assemblies in the country to pave way for introduction of GST as the most ambitious tax reform of independent India.

While Lok Sabha may pass the four GST related Bills in current session of Parliament which will run till 12th April, 2017, States may take some more time, could be a month or so and they may have to convene a special session for this purpose. Even if one State does not do so, Government may not be able to levy GST as it should be introduced in one go across India.

The taxonomy of GST lies in following five pieces of legislations:

Law To be passed by For
Central GST Bill, 2017 Parliament To authorize and administer levy of CGST in country
Integrated GST Bill 2017 Parliament To authorize and administer levy of IGST on inter-state movement of goods and services
UT-GST Bill 2017 Parliament To authorize and administer levy of GST in the jurisdiction of Union Territory
State GST Bill 2017 Legislative assemblies of States To authorize and administer levy of SGST in the States for intra-state movement of goods and services
GST (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017 Parliament To authorize Union Government to compensate the States / UTs for any revenue loss arising from introduction of GST in India for 5 years.

It is expected that State Governments may pass the SGST Bills, 2017 in their respective State legislatures in next few weeks and then GST may be introduced from a common appointed date to be decided by the GST Council.

In the meantime, GST Council shall decide on the following issues and close them before GST is introduced:

  • Fitment of goods and services in the GST rate slabs
  • Exemptions and abatements
  • GST rules on registration, payment, returns, refunds invoices etc
  • Fixation of common date for switch over to GST

So far trade and industry is concerned, their first and foremost agenda must be to migrate over to GST platform by getting themselves provisionally registered or migrated as per the scheme announced. They will have to come into action for planning, strategy formulation on costing / pricing / product range / logistics etc once fitment is announced. Above all, impact analysis and reorganization of business itself or business processes will also have to be done.

The time left is hardly any. The actual countdown has now begun. If we do not act now, it would be too late. One will have to understand that there is no more delay on GST and the writing is clear on the wall – be GST ready now.

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