The GST Bill is expected to replace a myriad of indirect taxes such as VAT, Customs, Excise, CST, Service Tax, Entry Tax with a single tax called as Goods and Services Tax. As the GST council tries its best to roll it out by July 2017, lets take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions on the new tax reform
Q 1. What is Goods and Service Tax (GST)?
Ans. It is a destination-based tax on consumption of goods and services. It is proposed to be levied at all stages right from manufacture up to final consumption with credit of taxes paid at previous stages available as setoff. In a nutshell, only value addition will be taxed and burden of tax is to be borne by the final consumer.
Q 2. What exactly is the concept of destination-based tax on consumption?
Ans. The tax would accrue to the taxing authority which has jurisdiction over the place of consumption which is also termed as place of supply.
Q 3. Which of the existing taxes are proposed to be subsumed under GST?
Ans. The GST would replace the following taxes:
(i) Taxes currently levied and collected by the Centre:
a. Central Excise duty
b. Duties of Excise (Medicinal and Toilet Preparations)
c. Additional Duties of Excise (Goods of Special Importance)
d. Additional Duties of Excise (Textiles and Textile Products)
e. Additional Duties of Customs (commonly known as CVD)
f. Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD)
g. Service Tax
h. Central Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods and services
(ii) State taxes that would be subsumed under the GST are:
a. State VAT
b. Central Sales Tax
c. Luxury Tax
d. Entry Tax (all forms)
e. Entertainment and Amusement Tax (except when levied by the local bodies)
f. Taxes on advertisements
g. Purchase Tax
h. Taxes on lotteries, betting and gambling
i. State Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods and services
The GST Council shall make recommendations to the Union and States on the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Centre, the States and the local bodies which may be subsumed in the GST.
Q 4. What principles were adopted for subsuming the above taxes under GST?
Ans. The various Central, State and Local levies were examined to identify their possibility of being subsumed under GST. While identifying, the following principles were kept in mind:
(i) Taxes or levies to be subsumed should be primarily in the nature of indirect taxes, either on the supply of goods or on the supply of services.
(ii) Taxes or levies to be subsumed should be part of the transaction chain which commences with import/ manufacture/ production of goods or provision of services at one end and the consumption of goods and services at the other.
(iii) The subsumation should result in free flow of tax credit in intra and inter- State levels. The taxes, levies and fees that are not specifically related to supply of goods & services should not be subsumed under GST.
(iv) Revenue fairness for both the Union and the States individually would need to be attempted.
Q 5. Which are the commodities proposed to be kept outside the purview of GST?
Ans. Alcohol for human consumption, Petroleum Products viz. petroleum crude, motor spirit (petrol), high speed diesel, natural gas and aviation turbine fuel & Electricity.
Q 6. What will be the status in respect of taxation of above commodities after introduction of GST?
Ans. The existing taxation system (VAT & Central Excise) will continue in respect of the above commodities.
Q 7. What type of GST is proposed to be implemented?
Ans. It would be a dual GST with the Centre and States simultaneously levying it on a common tax base. The GST to be levied by the Centre on intra-State supply of goods and / or services would be called the Central GST (CGST) and that to be levied by the States would be called the State GST (SGST). Similarly Integrated GST (IGST) will be levied and administered by Centre on every inter-state supply of goods and services.
Q 9. Which authority will levy and administer GST?
Ans. Centre will levy and administer CGST & IGST while respective states will levy and administer SGST.
Q 10. How a particular transaction of goods and services would be taxed simultaneously under Central GST (CGST) and State GST (SGST)?
Ans. The Central GST and the State GST would be levied simultaneously on every transaction of supply of goods and services except the exempted goods and services, goods which are outside the purview of GST and the transactions which are below the prescribed threshold limits. Further, 8 both would be levied on the same price or value unlike State VAT which is levied on the value of the goods inclusive of CENVAT. While the location of the supplier and the recipient within the country is immaterial for the purpose of CGST, SGST would be chargeable only when the supplier and the recipient are both located within the State.
Q 11. What are the benefits which the Country will accrue from GST?
Ans. Introduction of GST would be a very significant step in the field of indirect tax reforms in India. By amalgamating a large number of Central and State taxes into a single tax and allowing set-off of prior-stage taxes, it would mitigate the ill effects of cascading and pave the way for a common national market. For the consumers, the biggest gain would be in terms of a reduction in the overall tax burden on goods, which is currently estimated at 25%- 30%. Introduction of GST would also make our products competitive in the domestic and international markets. Studies show that this would instantly spur economic growth. There may also be revenue gain for the Centre and the States due to widening of the tax base, increase in trade volumes and improved 10 tax compliance. Last but not the least, this tax, because of its transparent character, would be easier to administer.
A GST Council would be constituted comprising the Union Finance Minister (who will be the Chairman of the Council), the Minister of State (Revenue) and the State Finance/Taxation Ministers to make recommendations on the tax structure
Under the GST regime, tax is payable by the taxable person on the supply of goods and/or services. Liability to pay tax arises when the taxable person crosses the threshold exemption, i.e. Rs.10 lakhs (Rs. 5 lakhs for NE States)
Q 12. What is IGST?
Ans. Under the GST regime, an Integrated GST (IGST) would be levied and collected by the Centre on inter-State supply of goods and services. Under Article 269A of the Constitution, the GST on supplies in the course of inter- State trade or
commerce shall be levied and collected by the Government of India and such tax shall be apportioned between the Union and the States in the manner as may be provided by Parliament by law on the recommendations of the Goods and Services Tax Council.
Q 13. Who will decide rates for levy of GST?
Ans. The CGST and SGST would be levied at rates to be jointly decided by the Centre and States. The rates would be notified on the recommendations of the GST Council.
Q 14. What would be the role of GST Council?
Ans. A GST Council would be constituted comprising the Union Finance Minister (who will be the Chairman of the Council), the Minister of State (Revenue) and the State Finance/Taxation Ministers to make recommendations to the Union and the States on
(i) the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Centre, the States and the local bodies which may be subsumed under GST;
(ii) the goods and services that may be subjected to or exempted from the GST;
(iii) the date on which the GST shall be levied on petroleum crude, high speed diesel, motor sprit (commonly known as petrol), natural gas and aviation turbine fuel;
(iv) model GST laws, principles of levy, apportionment of IGST and the principles that govern the place of supply;
(v) the threshold limit of turnover below which the goods and services may be exempted from GST;
(vi) the rates including floor rates with bands of GST;
(vii) any special rate or rates for a specified period to raise additional resources during any natural calamity or disaster;
(viii) special provision with respect to the North-East States, J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand; and
(ix) any other matter relating to the GST, as the Council may decide.
Q 15. Who is liable to pay GST under the proposed GST regime?
Ans. Under the GST regime, tax is payable by the taxable person on the supply of goods and/or services. Liability to pay tax arises when the taxable person crosses the threshold exemption, i.e. Rs.10 lakhs (Rs. 5 lakhs for NE States) except in certain specified cases where the taxable person is liable to pay GST even though he has not crossed the threshold limit. The CGST / SGST is payable on all intra-State supply of goods and/or services and IGST is payable on all inter-State supply of goods and/or services. The CGST / SGST and IGST are payable at the rates specified in the Schedules to the respective Acts.
Q 16. What are the benefits available to small tax payers under the GST regime?
Ans. Tax payers with an aggregate turnover in a financial year up to [Rs.10 lakhs] would be exempt from tax. [Aggregate turnover shall include the aggregate value of all taxable and non-taxable supplies, exempt supplies and exports of goods and/or services and exclude taxes viz. GST.] Aggregate turnover shall be computed on all India basis. For NE States and Sikkim, the exemption threshold shall be [Rs. 5 lakhs]. All taxpayers eligible for threshold exemption will have the option of paying tax with input tax credit (ITC) benefits. Tax payers making inter-State supplies or paying tax on reverse charge basis shall not be eligible for threshold exemption.
Q 17. How will the goods and services be classified under GST regime?
Ans. HSN (Harmonised System of Nomenclature) code shall be used for classifying the goods under the GST regime. Taxpayers whose turnover is Under the GST regime. Taxpayers whose turnover is above Rs. 1.5 crores but below Rs. 5 crores shall use 2 digit code and the taxpayers whose turnover is Rs. 5 crores and above shall use 4 digit code. Taxpayers whose turnover is below Rs. 1.5 crores are not required to mention HSN Code in their invoices. Services will be classified as per the Services Accounting Code (SAC)
Q 18. How will imports be taxed under GST?
Ans. Imports of Goods and Services will be treated as inter-state supplies and IGST 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 14 will be available on the GST paid on import on goods and services.
Q 19. How will Exports be treated under GST?
Ans. Exports will be treated as zero rated supplies. No tax will be payable on exports of goods or services, however credit of input tax credit will be available and same will be available as refund to the exporters.
Q 20. What is GSTN and its role in the GST regime?
Ans. GSTN stands for Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN). A Special Purpose Vehicle called the GSTN has been set up to cater to the needs of GST. The GSTN shall provide a shared IT infrastructure and services to Central and State Governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of GST. The functions of the GSTN would, inter alia, include: (i) facilitating registration; (ii) forwarding the returns to Central and State authorities; (iii) computation and settlement of IGST (iv) matching of tax payment details with banking network; (v) providing various MIS reports to the Central and the State Governments based on the tax payer return information; (vi) providing analysis of tax payers’ profile; and (vii) running the matching engine for matching, reversal and reclaim of input tax credit. The GSTN is developing a common GST portal and applications for registration, payment, return and MIS/ reports. The GSTN would also be integrating the common GST portal with the existing tax administration IT systems and would be building interfaces for tax payers. Further, the GSTN is developing back-end modules like assessment, audit, refund, appeal etc. for 19 States and UTs (Model II States). The CBEC and Model I States (15 States) are themselves developing their GST back-end systems. Integration of GST front-end system with back-end systems will have to be completed and tested well in advance for making the transition smooth.
Q 21. How are the disputes going to be resolved under the GST regime?
Ans. The Constitution (one hundred and first amendment) Act, 2016 provides that the Goods and Services Tax Council shall establish a mechanism to adjudicate any dispute16
(a) between the Government of India and one or more States; or
(b) between the Government of India and any State or States on one side and one or more other Sates on the other side; or
(c) between two or more States, arising out of the recommendations of the Council or implementation thereof.
source: Dept of Customs and Central Excise
Exports will be treated as zero rated supplies. No tax will be payable on exports of goods or services, however credit of input tax credit will be available and same will be available as refund to the exporters