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Revenue department cant claim tax for over a decade old tax report: I-T tribunal
August, 12th 2015

With two days to go before Parliament wraps up its monsoon session, the government is eager to try and push through its proposal for India's biggest tax shake-up, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), though the Congress has warned it will block any attempts at legislation for now.

Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to this mega-reform, and what it means for you.

1) The GST seeks to transform the country into a common market, by merging a slew of state and central levies into a national sales tax - "unifying 29 Indian states into a billion-people market".

2) The bill has been cleared by the Lok Sabha or Lower House. The government now has to ensure the bill clears the Upper House or Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority. After that, the proposal has to be approved by more than half of the 29 states, a lengthy process.

3) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has set April 1, 2016, as the deadline for the new GST to roll out. For that to happen, the bill must clear Parliament before the monsoon session ends on Thursday.

4) The Finance Minister has described GST as the biggest-ever tax reform in India, predicting it could add up to 2 percentage points to the growth of Asia's third-largest economy.

5) For industry, the GST adds to ease of doing business, makes tax compliance simpler and boosts manufacturing by compelling states to be more competitive. For consumers, it is intended, in the long run, to reduce prices with more efficient delivery of goods and services.

6) But experts point out that to win over states who were worried about losing revenue, the GST proposal has seen too many compromises. The tax does not apply to alcohol, for example, and petroleum has been excluded - so a state can still enforce local taxes at a rate it determines.

7) States have also been allowed to collect an additional 1 per cent levy on inter-state commerce for at least two more years, undermining the objective of taxing value addition and not trade.

8) The government introduced the GST bill in the Rajya Sabha today, but the opposition Congress refused to allow discussions till the government drops Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj for helping tainted cricket tycoon Lalit Modi get urgent travel papers last year.

9) The government has reached out to smaller parties. At a lunch meeting in Chennai last week, the Prime Minister sought the support of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, whose AIADMK has 11 Rajya Sabha MPs and has so far opposed the bill.

10) Other regional parties like Bihar's Janata Dal United and Odisha's Biju Janata Dal are reportedly keen on the proposal because their states, which are not big manufacturers, will benefit from the GST.

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