Introduction of GST, Meaning of GST and Purpose of GST – Analysis

Introduction of GST: GST is one of the biggest tax reforms in India aiming to integrate State economies and boost overall growth by creating a single, unified Indian market to make the economy stronger. GST is a comprehensive destination based indirect tax levy of goods as well as services at the national level. Its main objective is to consolidate multiple indirect tax levies into a single tax thus subsuming an array of tax levies, overcoming the limitations of existing indirect tax structure, and creating efficiencies in tax administration.

GST is a consumption or destination based tax levied on the basis of the “Destination principle.” It is a comprehensive tax regime covering both goods and services, and be collected on value-added at each stage of the supply chain. Further, GST paid on the procurement of goods and services can be set off against that payable on the supply of goods or services. Simply put, Goods and Services Tax is a tax levied on goods and services imposed at each point of supply. Such GST is on entire goods and services, except some exempted class of goods or services or a negative list of goods and services on which GST is not levied. GST is a national level tax based on value added principle just like State level VAT which was levied as tax on sale of intra-state goods.

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Introduction, Meaning and Purpose of GST

Introduction of GST

We all know that India’s tax regime relied heavily on indirect taxes. Revenue from indirect taxes was the major source of tax revenue till tax reforms were undertaken during nineties. The major case put forth for important dependence on indirect taxes was that the India’s majority of population was poor and thus widening base of direct taxes had inherent limitations.

The essence of GST is in removing the cascading effects of both Central and State taxes by allowing setting-off of taxes throughout the value chain, right from the original producer and service provider’s point up to the retailer’s level. GST is thus not simply VAT plus service tax, but a major improvement over existing system of VAT and disjointed Service Tax ushering in the possibility of a collective gain for industry, trade and common consumers as well as for the Central Government and the State Governments.

The reference of GST was first made in the Indian Budget in 2006-07 by the then Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram as a single centralized Indirect tax. The GST Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Second Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced on December 19, 2014 and passed on May 6, 2015 in the Lok Sabha and yet to be passed in the Rajya Sabha

The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution to introduce Goods and Services tax vide proposed new article 246A. This article gives power to legislature of every state and Parliament to make laws with respect to goods and services tax where the supplies of goods or of services take place. Recently, Union Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley said that GST could be implemented as early as 1st July 2017.

In addition, the GST Council on 31st March 2017 approved five amended rules for the Goods and Services Tax regime and gave a “tentative” nod to the remaining four rules. Final discussion on all the 9 rules plus GST Rates would be taken up at the next meeting of GST Council scheduled on 18th-19thMay 2017.

Must Read – Role of Chartered Accountants in GST

The introduction of such a tax in Indian Economy is a concrete step of Government of India as one of the biggest taxation reforms and is all set to integrate State economies and boost overall growth. It will also help in increasing the GDP of the country by 1-1.5%. Such a tax system has already been implemented worldwide around 150 countries (France being First in 1954) and India is catching up with the global trends.

Meaning and purpose of GST

Clause 366(12A) of the Constitution Bill defines GST as “goods and services tax” means any tax on supply of goods, or services or both except taxes on the supply of the alcoholic liquor for human consumption. Further the clause 366(26A) of the Bill defines “Services” means anything other than Goods. Thus it can be said that GST is a comprehensive tax levy on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services at a national level. The proposed tax will be levied on all transactions involving supply of goods and services, except those which are kept out of its purview.

The two important purposes of GST are

Single Umbrella Tax Rate:

GST shall replace a number of indirect taxes being levied by Union and State Governments.

Removing Cascading Effect:

GST is intended to remove “Tax on Tax Effect” and provide for common national market for Goods and Services.

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