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Govt seeks to hide tax levied in GST regime
June, 10th 2013

The Union finance ministry — in consultation with the empowered committee of state finance ministers — is working on a mechanism where the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime prices are declared in a manner that would ensure the total tax levied would not be disclosed to consumers.

The government wants to hide the tax levied as it fears that if a bill is handed out to consumers containing break-up of prices of the commodity and the levies, it may invite wider criticism since the state and central tax component may add up to as high as 20%.

The proposed GST regime will have a dual tax structure where one will be the central component levied by the Centre, or the central GST, and the other to be levied by the states, or the state GST. In the dual tax structure, the Centre and states would have concurrent jurisdiction and the rate of taxes is likely to be in the range of 10% each. While the basic features of the law would be uniform, the dual model would be implemented through multiple statutes.

"A committee has been set up having members from both finance ministry and the empowered committee to deliberate how the tax could be structured within the cost of product and services," said Sushil Modi, Bihar deputy CM and chairman of the empowered committee of state finance ministers. Modi had on Friday met industry representatives and tax experts to invite their opinion on issues related to the rolling out of the GST.

The finance ministry has asked the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) to work out revenue neutral rates for both the central GST and the state GST on the basis of data up to 2012-13. Earlier, the NIPFP had given their estimation for revenue neutral rates for state GST, state-wise, based on the 2009-10 data.

It had suggested rates to be 8.45% if the central sales tax (CST) is completely eliminated. At current CST rate of 2%, NIPFP had recommended to keep the state GST at 10.46%. However, the rates vary state-wise — between 5.88% and 17.21%.

While the Centre wants complete elimination of CST when GST is rolled out, the states are demanding to retain the CST at 1%-2% for initial years of the implementation of the GST to make up for their losses for migrating to the new indirect tax regime.

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