Goods and services tax(GST) is expected to come into force from July 1. The tax will unify at least 10 central and state taxes into one. GST aims to make India a common market with common tax rates and procedures and remove the economic barriers thus paving the way for an integrated economy at the national level.
Here are some of its salient features:
The salient features of GST are as under:
1. The GST would be applicable on the supply of goods or services as against the present concept of tax on the manufacture or sale of goods or provision of services. It would be a destination based consumption tax. This means that tax would accrue to the State or the Union Territory where the consumption takes place. It would be a dual GST with the Centre and States simultaneously levying tax on a common tax base. The GST to be levied by the Centre on intra-State supply of goods or services would be called the Central tax (CGST) and that to be levied by the States including Union territories with legislature/Union Territories without legislature would be called the State tax (SGST)/ Union territory tax (UTGST) respectively.
2. The GST would apply to all goods other than alcoholic liquor for human consumption and five petroleum products, viz. petroleum crude, motor spirit (petrol), high speed diesel, natural gas and aviation turbine fuel. It would apply to all services barring a few to be specified. The 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. Central Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods and services
3. State taxes that would be subsumed under the GST are:
a. State VAT
b. Central Sales Tax
c. Luxury Tax
d. Entry Tax (all forms)
e. Entertainment and Amusement Tax (except when levied by the local bodies)
f. Taxes on advertisements
g. Purchase Tax
h. Taxes on lotteries, betting and gambling
i. State Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods and services
4. The list of exempted goods and services would be common for the Centre and the States.
5. Threshold Exemption: Taxpayers with an aggregate turnover in a financial year up to Rs.20 lakhs would be exempt from tax. Aggregate turnover shall be computed on all India basis. For eleven Special Category States, like those in the North-East and the hilly States, the exemption threshold shall be Rest. 10 lakhs. All taxpayers eligible for threshold exemption will have the option of paying tax with input tax credit (ITC) benefits. Taxpayers making inter-State supplies or paying tax on reverse charge basis shall not be eligible for threshold exemption.
6. Composition levy: Small taxpayers with an aggregate turnover in a financial year up to Rest. 50 lakhs shall be eligible for composition levy. Under the scheme, a taxpayer shall pay tax as a percentage of his turnover during the year without the benefit of ITC. The rate of tax for CGST and SGST/UTGST each shall not exceed –
-2.5% in case of restaurants etc
– 1% of the turnover in a state/ UT in case of a manufacturer
-0.5% of the turnover in state/UT in case of other suppliers
A taxpayer opting for composition levy shall not collect any tax from his customers nor shall he be entitled to claim any input tax credit. The composition scheme is optional. Taxpayers making inter-State supplies shall not be eligible for composition scheme. The government, may, on the recommendation of GST Council, increase the threshold for the scheme to up to rupees one crore.
7. An Integrated tax (IGST) would be levied and collected by the Centre on inter-State supply of goods and services. Accounts would be settled periodically between the Centre and the States to ensure that the SGST/UTGST portion of IGST is transferred to the destination State where the goods or services are eventually consumed.
8. Use of Input Tax Credit: Taxpayers shall be allowed to take credit of taxes paid on inputs (input tax credit) and utilize the same for payment of output tax. However, no input tax credit on account of CGST shall be utilized towards payment of SGST/UTGST and vice versa. The credit of IGST would be permitted to be utilized for payment of IGST, CGST and SGST/UTGST in that order.
9. HSN (Harmonised System of Nomenclature) code shall be used for classifying the goods under the GST regime. Taxpayers whose turnover is above Rs 1.5 crore but below Rs. 5 crore shall use 2-digit code and the taxpayers whose turnover is Rs 5 crore and above shall use 4-digit code. Taxpayers whose turnover is below Rs 1.5 crore are not required to mention HSN Code in their invoices.
10. Exports and supplies to SEZ shall be treated as zero-rated supplies. The exporter shall have an option to either pay output tax and claim its refund or export under bond without tax and claim refund of Input Tax Credit.
11. Import of goods and services would be treated as inter-State supplies and would be subject to IGST in addition to the applicable customs duties. The IGST paid shall be available as ITC for further transactions.