GST rollout, launch in India: Ever since the GST Council announced the new tax slabs, there has been a confusion among consumers regarding the prices of goods. While the luxury items are set to become expensive, basic neccessities will be cheaper than ever.
Majority of services are presently taxed at the rate of fifteen per cent including the Swatch Bharat and Krishi Kalyan Cess (KKC). The new four-tier GST structure with five, twelve, eighteen and twenty eight per cent tax rates on the face seems to increase the tax incidence, especially since the bulk of services are taxed at the rate of eighteen per cent. Discussed below is the impact of GST on 10 most used services:
1. Your mobile bill: A three per cent increase in the rate of tax under GST on telecommunication services is envisaged. There may be offsets of additional credits available against this increase in rate, but overall, an increase in the mobile bills is likely.
2. Banking Services: Banking services become costlier as the current rate stands increased by three per cent.
3. Tax incidence on Cable and DTH services is likely to reduce under the GST regime as entertainment tax levied by states will be subsumed under GST. Currently, these services attract an entertainment tax in states in the range of 10-30 per cent over and above the service tax levy of 15 per cent.
4. Movie tickets: Tax incidence on movie tickets is likely to come down for the same reason of entertainment tax being subsumed under GST.
5. Eating out: Meals at a restaurant may become cheaper as the GST rate of twelve/ eighteen per cent is lower than the current tax applied on food served in restaurants. In addition, restaurants are also eligible for credits of input taxes which was not available under the current regime.
6. Software: Currently, there is dual levy of service tax and VAT on sale of software, which may change under the GST regime, with only a single levy being charged on software, leading to a reduction in the gross tax on software.
7. Insurance: The GST rate for insurance services has been kept at the standard rate of eighteen per cent including for motor and health insurance policies, which is a three per cent hike from the rate under the existing regime. There are some concessional slabs only in the case of life insurance policies.
8. Hotel stay: Your vacations are likely to cost more in the new regime. Under GST, hotel room tariffs between 1,000 and 2,500 INR bracket will attract a twelve per cent levy, this will be eighteen per cent for tariffs in the range of 2,500 – 7,500 INR. Hotels with room rents above 7,500 INR will attract a twenty eight per cent GST rate.
9. Flight tickets: The new GST rates make economy air travel marginally cheaper due to reduction in the effective tax rate of 0.6 per cent. However, business class airfare becomes more expensive by three to four per cent.
10. Radio taxi operator: Riding a radio cab may be cheaper in the new regime as the new GST rates are lower than the current service tax rate by a per centage point.
With GST round the corner now, its real impact is to be known soon. It is also likely to soften within a few months once service providers are able to seamlessly obtain GST credits and pass on the benefits of GST to consumers.
(By Kunal Chaudhary, Tax Partner, EY India. Views expressed are personal)