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GST Concept & Status
August, 26th 2015
                                                   For Departmental Officers only

                      GST ­ CONCEPT & STATUS

        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 at 25%-30%. Introduction of GST would also make Indian products
competitive in the domestic and international markets. Studies show that this
would instantly spur economic growth. Last but not the least, this tax, because
of its transparent character, would be easier to administer.


2.     The idea of moving towards the GST was first mooted by the then Union
Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram in his Budget for 2006-07. Initially, it
was proposed that GST would be introduced by 1 st 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 the 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.

Salient Features of GST

3.     The salient features of GST are as under:

(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 a destination based tax as against the present concept of
       origin based tax.

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(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 would
       be called State GST (SGST).
(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.
(v) Import of goods or services would be treated as inter-State supplies and
       would be subject to IGST in addition to the applicable customs duties.
(vi) For an initial period of two years or as further extended on the
       recommendation of the GST Council, a non-vatable Additional Tax not
       exceeding 1% on inter-State supply of goods would be levied and
       collected by the Centre and assigned to the originating State.
(vii) CGST, SGST & IGST would be levied at rates to be mutually agreed
       upon by the Centre and the States under the aegis of the GST Council.
(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 far 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 (not levied by the local bodies)
       g)     Taxes on advertisements
       h)     Taxes on lotteries, betting and gambling
       i)     State cesses and surcharges insofar as far as they relate to supply of
              goods or services

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                                                     For Departmental Officers only

(x)     GST would apply to all goods and services except Alcohol for human
(xi) GST on petroleum products would be applicable from a date to be
        recommended by the Goods & Services Tax Council.
(xii) Tobacco and tobacco products would be subject to GST. In addition, the
        Centre could continue to levy Central Excise duty.
(xiii) A common threshold exemption would apply to both CGST and SGST.
        Taxpayers with a turnover below it would be exempt from GST. A
        compounding option ( pay tax at a flat rate without credits) would be
        available to small taxpayers below a certain threshold. The threshold
        exemption and compounding provision 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 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 paid on inputs may be used only for paying
        SGST. In other words, the two streams of input tax credit (ITC) cannot be
        cross utilised, except in specified circumstances of inter-State supplies,
        for payment of IGST. The credit would be permitted to be utilised in the
        following manner:
        a)     ITC of CGST allowed for payment of CGST;
        b)     ITC of SGST allowed for payment of SGST;
        c)     ITC of CGST allowed for payment of CGST & IGST in that order;
        d)     ITC of SGST allowed for payment of SGST & IGST in that order;
        e)     ITC of IGST allowed for payment of IGST, CGST & SGST in that
(xvii) ITC of Additional Tax would not be permitted.
(xviii) Accounts would be settled periodically between the Centre and the State
        to ensure that the SGST used for payment of IGST is transferred by the
        Centre to the Destination State where the goods or services are eventually
        consumed. Similarly the IGST used for payment of SGST would be
        transferred by the originating State to the Centre.
(xix) The laws, regulations and procedures for levy and collection of CGST
        and SGST would be harmonized to the extent possible.

GST and Centre-State Financial Relations
4.   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
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                                                     For Departmental Officers only

(except alcoholic liquor for human consumption, opium, narcotics etc.) while
the States have the powers to levy tax on the sale of goods. In the 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 counterbalances excise duties,
sales tax, State VAT and other taxes levied on the like domestic product.
Introduction of the GST would require amendments in the Constitution so as to
concurrently empower the Centre and the States to levy and collect the GST.

4.1 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 Twenty Second) Amendment Bill, 2014

5.     To address all these and other issues, the Constitution (115th Amendment)
Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 22.03.2011. The said Bill lapsed with
the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill
has now been 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 the
specified goods. The tax shall be levied as Dual GST separately by the Union
(CGST) and the States (SGST). The Parliament would have exclusive power to
levy GST (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. As a temporary measure,
for two years (or for such further period as recommended by the GST Council),
a non-vatable additional tax not exceeding 1% on inter-State supply of goods
would be levied and collected by the Centre and assigned to the originating

5.1 A GST Council (GSTC) would 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
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                                                   For Departmental Officers only

harmonization on different aspects of GST between the Centre and the States as
well as among States.

5.2 The Constitution Amendment Bill needs to be passed by a two-third
majority in both Houses of Parliament and subsequent ratification by at least
half of the State Legislatures. The Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha on
06.05.2015. The Bill has, however, been referred to the Select Committee (of 21
members led by Sh. Bhupendra Yadav, Hon'ble MP) of Rajya Sabha on
12.05.2015. The Select Committee has been requested to submit its report on
the last day of the first week of the Monsoon session of the Parliament. After
passage of the Bill by both Houses of Parliament, ratification by State
legislatures and receipt of assent by the President, the process of enactment
would be complete.

Other Legislative Requirements

6.     Suitable legislation for the levy of GST (Central GST Bill and State GST
Bills) drawing powers from the Constitution can be introduced in Parliament or
the State Legislatures only after the enactment of the Constitution Amendment
Bill and on the recommendation by the GSTC. Unlike the Constitutional
Amendment, the GST Bills would need to be passed by a simple majority.
Obviously, the levy of the tax can commence only after the GST Law has been
enacted by the respective 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.

Recent Developments on the GST

7.     Five Committees have been constituted by the Empowered Committee of
State Finance Ministers (EC) to deal with the various aspects of work relating to
the introduction of GST. The Committees are:

(i)     The Committee on the Problem of Dual Control, Threshold and
        Exemptions in GST Regime;

(ii)    The Committee on Revenue Neutral Rates for State GST & Central GST
        and Place of Supply Rules (A Sub-Committee has been constituted to
        examine issues relating to the Place of Supply Rules);

(iii)   The Committee on IGST & GST on Imports (A Sub- Committee has been
        set up to examine issues pertaining to IGST model);
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                                                 For Departmental Officers only

(iv)   The Committee to examine Business Processes under GST Regime
       (Three Sub-Committees have been constituted to examine issues
       pertaining to Registration & Returns, Refunds and Payments);

(v)    The Committee to draft model GST Law (Three Sub-Committees have
       been constituted to draft various aspects of the model law);

7.1 The first four Committees have submitted their final reports which are
under consideration of the Empowered Committee / Government of India.

7.2 CBEC officials, as members of these Committees / Sub-committees, are
playing a significant role in the work relating to design and contours of the
proposed GST regime.

7.3 The meetings of the Empowered Committee are attended by the Nodal
Member of the CBEC and other officials.

7.4 A GST Cell headed by a Commissioner level officer has been created
within CBEC which functions in close coordination with TRU. Three Groups
have been constituted by CBEC to work on various aspects of the GST.

Role of CBEC

8.    The CBEC is playing an active role in the deliberations in the various
Committees constituted by the Empowered Committee. It is expected to play an
equally important 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 need to be suitably scaled up to handle such large volumes. 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 review. DG Systems has recently constituted a Steering Committee
Steering Committee for implementation of GST System for CBEC.
Augmentation in human resources would be necessary to handle such large
number of taxpayers scattered across the length and breadth of the country.
Capacity building, particularly in the field of Accountancy and Information
Technology, for the departmental officers have to be taken up in a big way.

9.    The GST law is still evolving and the dialogue continues between the
Centre and the States on related issues. A number of procedural, legal and
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                                                 For Departmental Officers only

administrative issues relating to GST are under active discussions in various
Committees / Sub-committees constituted by the EC and in various Groups
constituted by the CBEC.

(This Note is for creating general awareness about the GST among the officers
                              and staff of CBEC)


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