The Union government has withdrawn its earlier offer to
allow states to levy extra taxes in a limited way over and above the the proposed goods and services tax (GST) in lieu of the latter agreeing to subsume petroleum products within the proposed comprehensive
What’s triggered the rethink are the practical difficulties of having a special tax component for petroleum products on which no input tax credit facility would be available to businesses. Input tax credit is a vital element of GST, which is a destination-based tax on consumption that would eliminate cascading of taxes in B2B transactions.
According to sources, some of the states too have found merit in the view that an additional non-Vatable impost on petroleum products is impractical. The realisation has induced the Union and state ministers to explore new ways to compensate states for their “likely revenue losses” in the GST regime and the perceived erosion of some of their fiscal autonomy.
Petroleum products on which sales tax is levied at the state level account for 30-40% of states’ revenue kitty at present.
Sources said the issue would figure at a meeting of the empowered committee of state finance ministers scheduled for next month in Shillong. They added that any delay in arriving at a consensus on including petroleum and alcohol in GST is also likely to make it difficult for the Fourteenth Finance Commission to finalise its recommendations.
A major element of the Finance Commission’s mandate is to evolve a formula for devolution of gross central tax revenue to states. The compensation formula for states – including any leeway in tax rates – is integral to the determination of the revenue-neutral rate (RNR) for state GST.
The Commission – which must assess the impact of GST on the finances of Centre and states and suggest a mechanism for compensation in case of any revenue loss – was expected to give its report on October 31, but it is unlikely to meet that deadline. The Commission, led by former RBI Governor YV Reddy, is mandated to make recommendations on Centre-state fiscal relations for five years from April