GST is known as the Goods and Services Tax. It is an indirect tax which has replaced many indirect taxes in India such as the excise duty, VAT, services tax, etc. The Goods and Service Tax Act was passed in the Parliament on 29th March 2017 and came into effect on 1st July 2017. In other words, Goods and Sales Tax is levied on the supply of goods and services. Goods and Services Tax Law in India is a comprehensive, multi-stage, destination-based tax that is levied on every value addition. GST is a single domestic indirect tax law for the entire country. Before the Goods and Services Tax could be introduced, the structure of indirect tax levy in India was as follows: Under the GST regime, the tax is levied at every point of sale. In the case of intra-state sales, Central GST and State GST are charged. All the inter-state sales are chargeable to the Integrated GST. Now, let us understand the definition of Goods and Service Tax, as mentioned above, in detail.
An item goes through multiple change-of-hands along its supply chain: Starting from manufacture until the final sale to the consumer. Let us consider the following stages:
To achieve the ideology of ‘One Nation, One Tax’
GST has replaced multiple indirect taxes, which were existing under the previous tax regime. The advantage of having one single tax means every state follows the same rate for a particular product or service. Tax administration is easier with the Central Government deciding the rates and policies. Common laws can be introduced, such as e-way bills for goods transport and e-invoicing for transaction reporting. Tax compliance is also better as taxpayers are not bogged down with multiple return forms and deadlines. Overall, it’s a unified system of indirect tax compliance.
To subsume a majority of the indirect taxes in India
India had several erstwhile indirect taxes such as service tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), Central Excise, etc., which used to be levied at multiple supply chain stages. Some taxes were governed by the states and some by the Centre. There was no unified and centralized tax on both goods and services. Hence, GST was introduced. Under GST, all the major indirect taxes were subsumed into one. It has greatly reduced the compliance burden on taxpayers and eased tax administration for the government.
To eliminate the cascading effect of taxes
One of the primary objectives of GST was to remove the cascading effect of taxes. Previously, due to different indirect tax laws, taxpayers could not set off the tax credits of one tax against the other. For example, the excise duties paid during manufacture could not be set off against the VAT payable during the sale. This led to a cascading effect of taxes. Under GST, the tax levy is only on the net value added at each stage of the supply chain. This has helped eliminate the cascading effect of taxes and contributed to the seamless flow of input tax credits across both goods and services.
To curb tax evasion
GST laws in India are far more stringent compared to any of the erstwhile indirect tax laws. Under GST, taxpayers can claim an input tax credit only on invoices uploaded by their respective suppliers. This way, the chances of claiming input tax credits on fake invoices are minimal. The introduction of e-invoicing has further reinforced this objective. Also, due to GST being a nationwide tax and having a centralized surveillance system, the clampdown on defaulters is quicker and far more efficient. Hence, GST has curbed tax evasion and minimized tax fraud from taking place to a large extent.
To increase the taxpayer base
GST has helped in widening the tax base in India. Previously, each of the tax laws had a different threshold limit for registration based on turnover. As GST is a consolidated tax levied on both goods and services both, it has increased tax-registered businesses. Besides, the stricter laws surrounding input tax credits have helped bring certain unorganized sectors under the tax net. For example, the construction industry in India.
Online procedures for ease of doing business
Previously, taxpayers faced a lot of hardships dealing with different tax authorities under each tax law. Besides, while return filing was online, most of the assessment and refund procedures took place offline. Now, GST procedures are carried out almost entirely online. Everything is done with a click of a button, from registration to return filing to refunds to e-way bill generation. It has contributed to the overall ease of doing business in India and simplified taxpayer compliance to a massive extent. The government also plans to introduce a centralized portal soon for all indirect tax compliance such as e-invoicing, e-way bills and GST return filing.
An improved logistics and distribution system
A single indirect tax system reduces the need for multiple documentation for the supply of goods. GST minimizes transportation cycle times, improves supply chain and turnaround time, and leads to warehouse consolidation, among other benefits. With the e-way bill system under GST, the removal of interstate checkpoints is most beneficial to the sector in improving transit and destination efficiency. Ultimately, it helps in cutting down the high logistics and warehousing costs.
To promote competitive pricing and increase consumption
Introducing GST has also led to an increase in consumption and indirect tax revenues. Due to the cascading effect of taxes under the previous regime, the prices of goods in India were higher than in global markets. Even between states, the lower VAT rates in certain states led to an imbalance of purchases in these states. Having uniform GST rates have contributed to overall competitive pricing across India and on the global front. This has hence increased consumption and led to higher revenues, which has been another important objective achieved
GST has mainly removed the cascading effect on the sale of goods and services. Removal of the cascading effect has impacted the cost of goods. Since the GST regime eliminates the tax on tax, the cost of goods decreases. Also, GST is mainly technologically driven. All the activities like registration, return filing, application for refund and response to notice needs to be done online on the GST portal, which accelerates the processes.
CGST It is the tax collected by the Central Government on an intra-state sale (e.g., a transaction happening within Maharashtra)
SGST It is the tax collected by the state government on an intra-state sale (e.g., a transaction happening within Maharashtra)
IGST It is a tax collected by the Central Government for an inter-state sale (e.g., Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu)
In the earlier indirect tax regime, there were many indirect taxes levied by both the state and the center. States mainly collected taxes in the form of Value Added Tax (VAT). Every state had a different set of rules and regulations. Inter-state sale of goods was taxed by the center. CST (Central State Tax) was applicable in case of inter-state sale of goods. The indirect taxes such as the entertainment tax, octroi and local tax were levied together by state and center. These led to a lot of overlapping of taxes levied by both the state and the center. For example, when goods were manufactured and sold, excise duty was charged by the center. Over and above the excise duty, VAT was also charged by the state. It led to a tax on tax effect, also known as the cascading effect of taxes.
The following is the list of indirect taxes in the pre-GST regime:
CGST, SGST, and IGST have replaced all the above taxes. However, certain taxes such as the GST levied for the inter-state purchase at a concessional rate of 2% by the issue and utilization of ‘Form C’ is still prevalent.
It applies to certain non-GST goods such as:
It applies to the following transactions only:
GST introduced a centralized system of waybills by the introduction of “E-Way Bills” . This system was launched on 1st April 2018 for inter-state movement of goods and on 15th April 2018 for intra-state movement of goods in a staggered manner. Under the e-way bill system, manufacturers, traders and transporters can generate e-way bills for the goods transported from the place of its origin to its destination on a common portal with ease. Tax authorities are also benefited as this system has reduced time at check -posts and helps reduce tax evasion.
The e-invoicing system was made applicable from 1st October 2020 for businesses with an annual aggregate turnover of more than Rs.500 crore in any preceding financial years (from 2017-18). Further, from 1st January 2021, this system was extended to those with an annual aggregate turnover of more than Rs.100 crore. These businesses must obtain a unique invoice reference number for every business-to-business invoice by uploading on the GSTN’s invoice registration portal. The portal verifies the correctness and genuineness of the invoice. Thereafter, it authorizes using the digital signature along with a QR code. E-Invoicing allows interoperability of invoices and helps reduce data entry errors. It is designed to pass the invoice information directly from the IRP to the GST portal and the e-way bill portal. It will, therefore, eliminate the requirement for manual data entry while filing GSTR-1 and helps in the generation of e-way bills too.
E-Way Bill is an Electronic Way bill for movement of goods to be generated on the eWay Bill Portal. A GST registered person cannot transport goods in a vehicle whose value exceeds Rs. 50,000 (Single Invoice/bill/delivery challan) without an e-way bill that is generated on ewaybillgst.gov.in.
To know more contact us on WhatsApp: 8368875553