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GST CONCEPT & STATUS As on 01st May, 2017
May, 15th 2017
                  GST ­ CONCEPT & STATUS ­ As on 01st May, 2017

Introduction

      The introduction of Goods and Services Tax (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, it would mitigate
cascading or double taxation in a major way and pave the way for a common
national market. From the consumer point of view, the biggest advantage
would be in terms of a reduction in the overall tax burden on goods, which is
currently estimated to be around 25%-30%. Introduction of GST would also
make Indian products competitive in the domestic and international markets.
Studies show that this would have a boosting impact on economic growth. Last
but not the least, this tax, because of its transparent and self-policing
character, would be easier to administer.

Genesis

2.    The idea of moving towards the GST was first mooted by the then Union
Finance Minister in his Budget for 2006-07. Initially, it was proposed that GST
would be introduced from 1st April, 2010. The Empowered Committee of State
Finance Ministers (EC) which had formulated the design of State VAT was
requested to come up with a roadmap and structure for the GST. Joint
Working Groups of officials having representatives of the States as well as the
Centre were set up to examine various aspects of the GST and draw up reports
specifically on exemptions and thresholds, taxation of services and taxation of
inter-State supplies. Based on discussions within and between it and the
Central Government, the EC released its First Discussion Paper (FDP) on GST in
November, 2009. This spells out the features of the proposed GST and has
formed the basis for discussion between the Centre and the States so far.



                                  Page 1 of 15
GST and Centre-State Financial Relations

3.     Currently, fiscal powers between the Centre and the States are clearly
demarcated in the Constitution with almost no overlap between the respective
domains. The Centre has the powers to levy tax on the manufacture of goods
(except alcoholic liquor for human consumption, opium, narcotics etc.) while
the States have the powers to levy tax on sale of goods. In case of inter-State
sales, the Centre has the power to levy a tax (the Central Sales Tax) but, the tax
is collected and retained entirely by the originating States. As for services, it is
the Centre alone that is empowered to levy service tax. Since the States are not
empowered to levy any tax on the sale or purchase of goods in the course of
their importation into or exportation from India, the Centre levies and collects
this tax as additional duties of customs, which is in addition to the Basic
Customs Duty. This additional duty of customs (commonly known as CVD and
SAD) counter balances excise duties, sales tax, State VAT and other taxes levied
on the like domestic product. Introduction of GST would require amendments
in the Constitution so as to concurrently empower the Centre and the States to
levy and collect the GST.

3.1    The assignment of concurrent jurisdiction to the Centre and the States
for the levy of GST would require a unique institutional mechanism that would
ensure that decisions about the structure, design and operation of GST are taken
jointly by the two. For it to be effective, such a mechanism also needs to have
Constitutional force.

Constitution (One Hundred and First) Amendment Act, 2016

4.     To address all these and other issues, the Constitution (122nd
Amendment) Bill was introduced in the 16th Lok Sabha on 19.12.2014. The Bill
provides for a levy of GST on supply of all goods or services except for Alcohol
for human consumption. The tax shall be levied as Dual GST separately but
concurrently by the Union (central tax - CGST) and the States (including Union

                                   Page 2 of 15
Territories with legislatures) (State tax - SGST) / Union territories without
legislatures (Union territory tax- UTGST). The Parliament would have exclusive
power to levy GST (integrated tax - IGST) on inter-State trade or commerce
(including imports) in goods or services. The Central Government will have the
power to levy excise duty in addition to the GST on tobacco and tobacco
products. The tax on supply of five specified petroleum products namely crude,
high speed diesel, petrol, ATF and natural gas would be levied from a later date
on the recommendation of GST Council.

4.1    A Goods and Services Tax Council (GSTC) shall be constituted
comprising the Union Finance Minister, the Minister of State (Revenue) and the
State Finance Ministers to recommend on the GST rate, exemption and
thresholds, taxes to be subsumed and other features. This mechanism would
ensure some degree of harmonization on different aspects of GST between the
Centre and the States as well as across States. One half of the total number of
members of GSTC would form quorum in meetings of GSTC. Decision in GSTC
would be taken by a majority of not less than three-fourth of weighted votes
cast. Centre and minimum of 20 States would be required for majority because
Centre would have one-third weightage of the total votes cast and all the States
taken together would have two-third of weightage of the total votes cast.




4.2    The Constitution Amendment Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in May,
2015. The Bill was referred to the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha on
12.05.2015. The Select Committee had submitted its Report on the Bill on
22.07.2015. The Bill with certain amendments was finally passed in the Rajya
Sabha and thereafter by Lok Sabha in August, 2016. Further the bill had been
ratified by required number of States and received assent of the President on 8th
September, 2016 and has since been enacted as Constitution (101st
Amendment) Act, 2016 w.e.f. 16th September, 2016.




                                  Page 3 of 15
Goods and Services Tax Council (GSTC)

5.       The GSTC has been notified with effect from 12th September, 2016.
GSTC is being assisted by a Secretariat. Thirteen meetings of the GSTC have
been held so far. The following major decisions have been taken by the GSTC:

(i) The threshold exemption limit would be Rs. 20 lakh. For special category
States enumerated in article 279A of the Constitution, threshold exemption
limit has been fixed at Rs. 10 lakh.

(ii) Composition threshold shall be Rs. 50 lakh. Composition scheme shall not
be available to inter-State suppliers, service providers (except restaurant
service) and specified category of manufacturers.

(iii) Existing tax incentive schemes of Central or State governments may be
continued by respective government by way of reimbursement through
budgetary route. The schemes, in the present form, would not continue in GST.

(iv)   There would be four tax rates namely 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. Besides,
some goods and services would be under the list of exempt items. Rate for
precious metals is yet to be fixed. A cess over the peak rate of 28% on certain
specified luxury and demerit goods would be imposed for a period of five years
to compensate States for any revenue loss on account of implementation of GST.
The Council has asked the Committee of officers to fit various goods and
services in these four slabs keeping in view the present incidence of tax.

(v)    The five laws namely CGST Law, UTGST Law, IGST Law, SGST Law and
GST Compensation Law have been recommended.

(vi) In order to ensure single interface, all administrative control over 90% of
taxpayers having turnover below Rs. 1.5 crore would vest with State tax
administration and over 10% with the Central tax administration. Further all
administrative control over taxpayers having turnover above Rs. 1.5 crore shall
be divided equally in the ratio of 50% each for the Central and State tax
                                       Page 4 of 15
administration.

(vii) Powers under the IGST Act shall also be cross-empowered on the same
basis as under CGST and SGST Acts with few exceptions.

(viii) Power to collect GST in territorial waters shall be delegated by Central
Government to the States.

(ix) Formula and mechanism for GST Compensation Cess has been finalised.

(x) Four rules on input tax credit, composition levy, transitional provisions
and valuation have been recommended. Further five Rules on registration,
invoice, payments, returns and refund, finalized in September, 2016 and as
amended in light of the GST bills introduced in the Parliament, have also been
recommended.

Salient Features of GST
6.       The salient features of GST are asunder:
 (i)     GST would be applicable on "supply" of goods or services as against the
         present concept of tax on the manufacture of goods or on sale of goods
         or on provision of services.

 (ii)    GST would be based on the principle of destination based consumption
         taxation as against the present principle of origin based taxation.

 (iii)   It would be a dual GST with the Centre and the States simultaneously
         levying it on a common base. The GST to be levied by the Centre would
         be called Central GST (CGST) and that to be levied by the States
         [including Union territories with legislature] would be called State GST
         (SGST). Union territories without legislature would levy Union territory
         GST (UTGST).
 (iv)    An Integrated GST (IGST) would be levied on inter-State supply
         (including stock transfers) of goods or services. This would be collected
         by the Centre so that the credit chain is not disrupted.
                                        Page 5 of 15
(v)    Import of goods would be treated as inter-State supplies and would be
       subject to IGST in addition to the applicable customs duties.
(vi)   Import of services would be treated as inter-State supplies and would be
       subject to IGST.
(vii) CGST, SGST /UTGST & IGST would be levied at rates to be mutually
       agreed upon by the Centre and the States under the aegis of the GSTC.
(viii) GST would replace the following 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)    Cesses and surcharges insofar as they relate to supply of goods or
             services.
(ix)   State taxes that would be subsumed within the GST are:
       a)    State VAT;
       b)    Central Sales Tax;
       c)    Purchase Tax;
       d)    Luxury Tax;
       e)    Entry Tax (All forms);
       f)    Entertainment Tax (except those levied by the local bodies);
       g)    Taxes on advertisements;
       h)    Taxes on lotteries, betting and gambling;
       i)    State cesses and surcharges insofar as they relate to supply of
             goods or services.

                                    Page 6 of 15
 (x)    GST would apply to all goods and services except Alcohol for human
        consumption.

(xi)    GST on five specified petroleum products (Crude, Petrol, Diesel, ATF &
        Natural gas) would be applicable from a date to be recommended by the
        GSTC.
(xii) Tobacco and tobacco products would be subject to GST. In addition, the
        Centre would continue to levy Central Excise duty.
(xiii) A common threshold exemption would apply to both CGST and SGST.
        Taxpayers with an annual turnover of Rs. 20 lakh (Rs. 10 lakh for
        special category States as specified in article 279A of the Constitution)
        would be exempt from GST. A compounding option (i.e. to pay tax at a
        flat rate without credits) would be available to small taxpayers
        (including to specified category of manufacturers and service providers)
        having an annual turnover of up to Rs. 50 lakh. The threshold
        exemption and compounding scheme would be optional.
(xiv) The list of exempted goods and services would be kept to a minimum
        and it would be harmonized for the Centre and the States as well as
        across States as far as possible.
(xv)    Exports would be zero-rated.
(xvi)   Credit of CGST paid on inputs may be used only for paying CGST on the

        output and the credit of SGST/UTGST paid on inputs may be used only

        for paying SGST/UTGST. In other words, the two streams of input tax

        credit (ITC) cannot be cross utilized, except in specified circumstances of

        inter-State supplies for payment of IGST. The credit would be permitted

        to be utilized in the following manner:

        a)      ITC of CGST allowed for payment of CGST & IGST in that order;

        b)      ITC of SGST allowed for payment of SGST & IGST in that order;

                                     Page 7 of 15
        c)     ITC of UTGST allowed for payment of UTGST & IGST in that order;

        d)     ITC of IGST allowed for payment of IGST, CGST & SGST/UTGST in

               that order.

        ITC of CGST cannot be used for payment of SGST/UTGST and vice versa.

(xvii) Accounts would be settled periodically between the Centre and the State

        to ensure that the credit of SGST used for payment of IGST is transferred

        by the originating State to the Centre. Similarly the IGST used for

        payment of SGST would be transferred by Centre to the destination State.

        Further the SGST portion of IGST collected on B2C supplies would also

        be transferred by Centre to the destination State. The transfer of funds

        would be carried out on the basis of information contained in the

        returns filed by the taxpayers.

(xviii) Input Tax Credit (ITC) to be broad based by making it available in respect
        of taxes paid on any supply of goods or services or both used or intended
        to be used in the course or furtherance of business.
(xix)   Electronic filing of returns by different class of persons at different cut-
        off dates.
(xx)    Various modes of payment of tax available to the taxpayer including
        internet banking, debit/ credit card and National Electronic Funds
        Transfer (NEFT) / Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS).
(xxi)   Obligation on certain persons including government departments, local
        authorities and government agencies, who are recipients of supply, to
        deduct tax at the rate of 1% from the payment made or credited to the
        supplier where total value of supply, under a contract, exceeds two lakh
        and fifty thousand rupees (Rs. 2.5 lac).


                                    Page 8 of 15
 (xxii) Refund of tax to be sought by taxpayer or by any other person who has
         borne the incidence of tax within two years from the relevant date.
 (xxiii) Obligation on electronic commerce operators to collect `tax at source', at
         such rate not exceeding two per cent. (2%) of net value of taxable
         supplies, out of payments to suppliers supplying goods or services
         through their portals.
 (xxiv) System of self-assessment of the taxes payable by the registered person.
 (xxv) Audit of registered persons to be conducted in order to verify compliance
         with the provisions of Act.
 (xxvi) Limitation period for raising demand is three (3) years from the due date
         of filing of annual return or from the date of erroneous refund for raising
         demand for short-payment or non-payment of tax or erroneous refund
         and its adjudication in normal cases.
 (xxvii) Limitation period for raising demand is five (5) years from the due date
         of filing of annual return or from the date of erroneous refund for raising
         demand for short-payment or non-payment of tax or erroneous refund
         and its adjudication in case of fraud, suppression or willful mis-
         statement.
(xxviii) Arrears of tax to be recovered using various modes including detaining
         and sale of goods, movable and immovable property of defaulting taxable
         person.
 (xxix) Officers would have restrictive powers of inspection, search, seizure and
         arrest.
 (xxx) Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal would be constituted by the
         Central Government for hearing appeals against the orders passed by the
         Appellate Authority or the Revisional Authority. States would adopt the
         provisions relating to Tribunal in respective SGST Act.
(xxxi)   Provision for penalties for contravention of the provision of the proposed
         legislation has been made.
                                       Page 9 of 15
 (xxxii) Advance Ruling Authority would be constituted by States in order to
         enable the taxpayer to seek a binding clarity on taxation matters from the
         department. Centre would adopt such authority under CGST Act.
(xxxiii) An anti-profiteering clause has been provided in order to ensure that
         business passes on the benefit of reduced tax incidence on goods or
         services or both to the consumers.
 (xxxiv) Elaborate transitional provisions have been provided for smooth
         transition of existing taxpayers to GST regime.

 Benefits of GST

 7.      (A) Make in India
 (i)     Will help to create a unified common national market for India, giving a
         boost to Foreign investment and "Make in India" campaign;
 (ii)    Will prevent cascading of taxes as Input Tax Credit will be available
         across goods and services at every stage of supply;
 (iii)   Harmonization of laws, procedures and rates of tax;
 (iv)    It will boost export and manufacturing activity, generate more
         employment and thus increase GDP with gainful employment leading to
         substantive economic growth;
 (v)     Ultimately it will help in poverty eradication by generating more
         employment and more financial resources;
 (vi)    More efficient neutralization of taxes especially for exports thereby
         making our products more competitive in the international market and
         give boost to Indian Exports;
 (vii)   Improve the overall investment climate in the country which will
         naturally benefit the development in the states;
 (viii) Uniform SGST and IGST rates will reduce the incentive for evasion by
         eliminating rate arbitrage between neighboring States and that between
         intra and inter-State sales;





                                    Page 10 of 15
(ix)     Average tax burden on companies is likely to come down which is
         expected to reduce prices and lower prices mean more consumption,
         which in turn means more production thereby helping in the growth of
         the industries . This will create India as a "Manufacturing hub".
         (B) Ease of Doing Business
(i)      Simpler tax regime with fewer exemptions;
(ii)     Reductions in the multiplicity of taxes that are at present governing our
         indirect tax system leading to simplification and uniformity;
(iii)    Reduction in compliance costs - No multiple record keeping for a variety
         of taxes - so lesser investment of resources and manpower in
         maintaining records;
(iv)     Simplified and automated procedures for various processes such as
         registration, returns, refunds, tax payments, etc;
(v)      All interaction to be through the common GSTN portal - so less public
         interface between the taxpayer and the tax administration;
(vi)     Will improve environment of compliance as all returns to be filed online,
         input credits to be verified online, encouraging more paper trail of
         transactions;
(vii)    Common procedures for registration of taxpayers, refund of taxes,
         uniform formats of tax return, common tax base, common system of
         classification of goods and services will lend greater certainty to taxation
         system;
(viii)   Timelines to be provided for important activities like obtaining
         registration, refunds, etc;
(ix)     Electronic matching of input tax credits all - across India thus making
         the process more transparent and accountable.
         (C) Benefit to Consumers:
(i)      Final price of goods is expected to be lower due to seamless flow of input
         tax credit between the manufacturer, retailer and service supplier;


                                       Page 11 of 15
(ii)     It is expected that a relatively large segment of small retailers will be
         either exempted from tax or will suffer very low tax rates under a
         compounding scheme- purchases from such entities will cost less for the
         consumers;
(iii)    Average tax burden on companies is likely to come down which is
         expected to reduce prices and lower prices mean more consumption.

 Goods and Services Tax Network

 8.      Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) has been set up by the
 Government as a private company under erstwhile Section 25 of the
 Companies Act, 1956. GSTN would provide three front end services to the
 taxpayers namely registration, payment and return. Besides providing these
 services to the taxpayers, GSTN would be developing back-end IT modules for
 27 States who have opted for the same. The migration of existing taxpayers has
 already started from November, 2016. The Revenue department of both Centre
 and States are pursuing the presently registered taxpayers to complete the
 necessary formalities on the IT system operated by Goods and Services Tax
 Network (GSTN) for successful migration. About 70 percent of existing
 registrants have already migrated to the GST systems. GSTN has already
 appointed M/s Infosys as Managed Service Provider (MSP) at a total project
 cost of around Rs 1380 crores for a period of five years.

 8.1     GSTN has selected 34 IT, ITeS and financial technology companies, to be
 called GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs). GSPs would develop applications to be
 used by taxpayers for interacting with the GSTN.

 Other Legislative Requirements

9.      Four Laws namely CGST Act, UTGST Act, IGST Act and GST (Compensation
to States) Act have been passed by the Parliament and since been notified on 12th
April, 2017. The State of Telangana, Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and

                                   Page 12 of 15
Chhattisgarh have also passed SGST Act. Other States are expected to pass them
in the month of May, 2017.

9.1 The levy of the tax can commence only after the GST Law has been enacted
by all the legislatures. Also, unlike the State VAT, the date of commencement of
this levy would have to be synchronized across the Centre and the States. This is
because the IGST model cannot function unless the Centre and all the States
participate simultaneously.

Role of CBEC

10.    CBEC is playing an active role in the drafting of GST law and
procedures, particularly the CGST and IGST law, which will be exclusive
domain of the Centre. This apart, the CBEC would need to prepare, in advance,
for meeting the implementation challenges, which are quite formidable. The
number of taxpayers is likely to go up significantly. The existing IT
infrastructure of CBEC would also need to be suitably scaled up to handle such
large volumes of data. Based on the legal provisions and procedure for GST, the
content of work-flow software such as ACES (Automated Central Excise &
Service Tax) would require re-engineering. DG Systems has already constituted
a Steering Committee for implementation of GST System for CBEC. The IT
project of CBEC under GST has been approved by the Cabinet on 28th
September, 2016. The name of this project is `SAKSHAM' involving a total
project value of Rs. 2,256 crores.

10.1   It was also felt that the organizational structure and deployment of
human resources needed a review for smooth and effective implementation of
GST. A Working Group has after extensive deliberations and studies, submitted
its Report which has been approved by the Government.

10.2   Augmentation of human resources would be necessary to handle large
taxpayers' base in GST scattered across the length and breadth of the country.

                                     Page 13 of 15
Capacity building, particularly in the field of Accountancy and Information
Technology for the departmental officers has to be taken up in a big way. A
massive four-tier training programme is being conducted under the leadership
of NACEN. This training project is aimed at imparting training on GST law and
procedures to more than 60,000 officers of CBEC and Commercial Tax officers
of State Governments. Officers of the office of CAG are also participating and
getting trained in this training programme. More than 50000 officers
(including around 20000 officers from States) have already been trained.

10.3    It is expected that a momentous reform like GST is popularized and
familiarized to the trade and industry who are the vital stakeholders in
successful implementation of this reform. Massive Public outreach and
knowledge sharing programs being conducted by various formations of CBEC
which, after Model GST Law was put in public domain, has reached to an
audience of more than 20,000.

10.4    CBEC would be responsible for administration of the CGST and IGST law.
In addition, excise duty regime would continue to be administered by the CBEC
for levy and collection of central excise duty on five specified petroleum
products as well as on tobacco products. CBEC would also continue to handle
the work relating to levy and collection of customs duties.

10.5          The following information is available on the CBEC website
www.cbec.gov.in :

(i)     Presentation on GST

(ii)    GST ­ Concept & Status

(iii)   FAQs on GST in English and Hindi

(iv)    CGST, IGST, UTGST and GST (Compensation to States) Act

(v)     Draft Rules

                                 Page 14 of 15
(vi)    Constitutional Amendment Act



Way Forward

11.     Looking forward, there are number of goal posts that need to be met
before GST can be rolled out in the country. The following tasks are required to
be completed within defined time frame:
(i)     Passage of SGST laws by all State legislatures;
(ii)    Recommendation of Model GST Rules by GST Council;
(iii)   Notification of GST Rules;
(iv)    Recommendation of GST Tax rates by GST Council;
(v)     Establishment and upgradation of IT framework;
(vi)    Meeting implementation challenges;
(vii) Effective coordination between Centre & State tax administrations;
(viii) Reorganization of field formations;
(ix)    Training of Officials; and
(x)     Outreach programs for all stakeholders including Trade & Industry.


                                         *****




                                     Page 15 of 15

 
 
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