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Global travellers may get tax refund while leaving India
October, 08th 2015

International travellers buying goods in India will be able to claim tax refunds in the proposed goods and services tax regime, which seeks to replace a plethora of state and central government taxes with a single levy.

That's among the proposals of panels set up by the empowered committee of state finance ministers which submitted their reports on the business process for GST. The three reports dealing with refunds, registration and payment processes have been put up for stakeholder consultations, clearly indicating the government's intent to go full throttle with preparations for a rollout of the tax from 2016.

"It is encouraging to see that the government has issued these reports for public feedback even while the Constitutional amendment bill is yet to be passed by the Rajya Sabha. This does indicate that the government is serious about implementing GST in 2016," said Pratik Jain, a partner with KPMG in India.

However, the new regime could spell some trouble for exporters, who will lose access to duty-free imported inputs and will have to make upfront payment of GST that will be refunded later. Payment of the new tax could be made by debit or credit cards.

Global travellers may get tax refund while leaving India

Jain said upfront payment of GST for procurement of inputs by exporters requires a larger debate as it could result in substantial cash flow issues for businesses. The reports lay emphasis on technology-driven compliance under GST, which would promote ease of doing business in India. Anyone engaged in the supply of goods and services would be required to be registered through a common portal set up by the Goods and Services Tax Network, a company set up to provide IT infrastructure and services to the Central and state governments, taxpayers and other stakeholders for implementation of GST. At present, taxpayers are separately registered with state or central tax administrations or both, based on their business activity.

System should be designed to migrate cleaned up and verified data of existing registrants with states or the Centre to the GST common portal. "A quick perusal of the reports indicates that the processes accommodate the peculiarities of state laws such as casual dealer, voluntary registration and compounding schemes as well as peculiarities of central laws such as input service distribution mechanism for service providers," said Prashant Deshpande, senior director at Deloitte in India. They will be provided a GST Identification Number and registration will be done within three days. The Reserve Bank of India's core banking solution, e-Kuber, should be used to consolidate and settle accounts under the GST system. GST, touted as the most comprehensive reform of indirect taxes since Independence, could lift the country's GDP growth by 1-2 percentage points.

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