GST roll-out–Complete transformation of the indirect taxation landscape

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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.

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 President, Vice President,  Prime Minister, Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha and Hon’ble Union Finance Minister among other dignitaries.

GST, described as the biggest tax reform since independence, 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.

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.

After the assent of the President on 8 September, 2016, the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2016 came into existence. The GST Council was constituted on 15.9.2016.

Since its formation in September, 2016 the GST Council has held 18 meetings. The Finance Ministers of all the States or their representative along with State and Central govt officials have participated in these extensive meetings and formulated the law and procedure to implement this historic tax reform.

While framing GST Acts and Rules, enhanced ‘Ease of doing business’ for the taxpayers was a key consideration and accordingly the roles and responsibilities of the States and Central governments have been defined.

The GST Council has decided the final structure of GST as follows:

The threshold limit for exemption from levy of GST is Rs. 20 lakhfor the States except for the Special Category, where it is Rs 10 Lakh.

  • A four slab tax rate structure of 5%, 12%, 18%and 28% has been adopted for GST.
  • A cess would be levied on certain goods such as luxury cars, aerated drinks, pan masala and tobacco products, over and above the GST rate of 28%for payment of compensation to the states.
  • The threshold for availing the Composition scheme is Rs. 75 lakhexcept for special category States where it is Rs. 50 lakhand they are required to file quarterly returns only.Certain categories of manufacturers, service providers (except restaurants) are out of the Composition Scheme.

GST Network has been created 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. The GSTN IT systems have undergone load tests, performance tests, vulnerability tests, security and all other mandatory tests.

25 banks have been integrated with the GST Common portal and will be providing e-payment and Over the counter payment facilities as well as payment through NeFT/RTGS and credit/debit card.

The Government has stepped up its outreach programme through various events, workshops, media, television to reach masses. An extensive multi-media campaign through print and electronic media, outdoor hoardings, etc. has been carried out for informing, educating and assisting taxpayers and other stake-holders to enable a smooth transition to GST. A total of 4700 workshops have been conducted across India.

A Twitter seva has been started by the Government as an initiative to answer queries of the Tax Payers on a real time basis. The twitter handle askGST_GOI attracts thousands of taxpayer queries every day. A list of FAQs based on frequent questions asked on Twitter has been already been published.

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