- Goods and Services Tax (GST), a historic tax reform, will come into effect from tomorrow i.e.1st July, 2017. GST will completely transform the Indirect Taxation landscape in the country involving both the Central and State levies. In a departure from the normal practice, GST will be administered together by the Centre and States.
- To commemorate the historic occasion, a function will be held in the Central Hall of Parliament on the mid-night of 30th June – 1st July, 2017. The occasion will be graced by the Hon’ble President, Hon’ble Vice President, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha and Hon’ble Union Finance Minister among other dignitaries.
- After the assent of the Hon’ble President on 8th September, 2016, the 101th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2016 came into existence. The GST Council was constituted on 15.9.2016.
Why is GST so important?
- The biggest tax reform since independence – GST – will pave the way for realization of the goal of One Nation – One Tax – One Market.
- GST will benefit all the stakeholders namely industry, government and consumer.
- It will lower the cost of goods and services, give a boost to the economy and make the products and services globally competitive, giving a major boost to ‘Make in India’ initiative.
- Under the GST regime, exports will be zero-rated in entirety unlike the present system where refund of some of the taxes does not take place due to fragmented nature of indirect taxes between the Centre and the States.
- GST will make India a common market with common tax rates & procedures and remove economic barriers. GST is largely technology driven and will reduce the human interface to a great extent. GST is expected to improve ease of doing business in India.
- In majority of supplies of goods, the tax incidence approved by the GST Council is much lower than the present combined indirect tax rates levied [on account of central excise duty rates / embedded central excise duty rates / service tax post-clearance embedding, VAT rates or weighted average VAT rates, cascading of VAT over excise duty and tax incidence on account of CST, Octroi, Entry Tax, etc.] by the Centre and State(s).
Other Important Features of GST
- GST envisages all transactions and processes to be done only through electronic mode, to achieve non-intrusive administration. This will minimise tax payers physical interaction with the tax officials.
- GST provides for the facility of auto-populated monthly returns and annual return.
- It also facilitates the taxpayers by prescribing grant of refund within 60 days, and provisional release of 90% refund to exporters within 7 days. Further facilitation measures include interest payment if refund is not sanctioned in time, and refund to be directly credited to bank accounts.
- Comprehensive transitional provisions for ensuring smooth transition of existing taxpayers to GST regime, credit for available stocks, etc.
- Other provisions include system of GST Compliance Rating, etc.
- Anti-profiteering provisions for protection of consumer rights.
Role of GST Network (GSTN) – IT backbone of GST
- GSTN has been created as a section 25 private limited company with Strategic Control with the Government, to function as a common Pass-through portal for taxpayers.
- On this common portal, taxpayers will submit their registration applications, file returns, make tax payments, claim refunds etc. GSTN has been provided with a robust IT platform and it will provide interface to 80 lakh taxpayers and thousands of tax officials.
- All filings under GST will be done electronically. While GSTN remains a front-end, at the back end, the IT systems of CBEC and different states interface with the GSTN IT network to provide a seamless end to end processing of tax returns for the taxpayers.