WHAT IS GST?
GST is Goods and Service Tax which is an Indirect tax prevalent in India. This tax has replaced a number of other indirect taxes existent earlier. On March 29th, 2017, the GST Act was passed in the parliament and came into effect as on July 1st, 2017. The Goods and Service Tax Law is a multi-stage, comprehensive, destination-based tax that is imposed on each value addition.
GST is a unified tax for the whole country which embraces almost all the good and services tax prevailing earlier. Under the GST code, there are taxations done at every point of sale. The two modes can be inter-state sales and intra-state sales. In the intra-state sale, both central and state GST is levied and in the inter-state sale, integrated GST is levied.
The GST definition can be broken into three major characteristics:
Before reaching the final destination i.e. Consumer, the goods go through multiple changes of hands. The supply chain is complex and large, from procuring the raw material to manufacturing the finished goods and finally getting it delivered to the consumer is a wholesome and compound process. There can be the following stages:
1. Raw material purchase
2. Manufacturing or production
3. Sending the finished goods to the warehouse
4. Selling to the wholesaler
5. Selling to the retailer
6. Selling to the end consumer or customer
Through all these six stages, the Goods and Services Tax is charged making it a Multi-stage tax.
Destination-based means, the final benefit or revenue is reaped by the destination state. Let us understand this with an example, suppose the goods are manufactured in Haryana and are sold to the end customer in Andhra Pradesh. The final tax revenue will be credited to the destination state i.e. Andhra Pradesh and not Haryana.
Since there is an elaborate process defining the tax levied at every stage, the GST is a comprehensive tax. There has to be a check on every stage ensuring the revenue crediting to the destination state at every stage which may involve a number of stages and states as well.
Value addition means improved value. With every stage the raw material gets finished, some value is added to it. Let us take an example of chocolates.
The company which makes chocolates needs milk, cocoa, sugar, butter etc. as the raw material. Once the raw material is mixed and the final product is made, its value gets increased. This chocolate bar then goes to the next stage of packaging at a warehouse which adds further value to the chocolate bar.
Another important thing that is done is labeling of the product adding to its value. Then the products are sold to the retailer who makes sellable packages of packed chocolate bars named under a know brand or label. The goods are then sold to the consumer finally.
At all these stages from procuring the raw material to the manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer and then to the customer, the GST is levied and the revenues generated from the sale are given to the state of sale. So, let us say if the chocolate was manufactured in Maharashtra and sold in Punjab, then the tax revenue is collected by Punjab and not Maharashtra wherein at each stage the monetary-value of the end product increased.
INTRODUCTION OF GST
The Goods and Service Tax bill was introduced in the year 2000. The final evolution and enactment of the bill took good 17 years passed in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The act was operational on July 1st, 2017.
BENEFITS OF GST
Following are the benefits of GST over earlier taxes:
1. Removal of cascading effect on taxes
2. Supports small businesses
3. Online procedure simplifying things
4. Lesser compliance
5. Well-defined e-commerce regime
6. Improved logistics
7. Better regulation of the unorganized sector
8. Fairly priced goods
9. Faster and more efficient
10. Technologically driven
WHAT COMPRISES GST?
There are mainly three components to GST defining the whole regimen; IGST, SGST, CGST.
IGST stands for Integrated goods and service tax which is collected by the central government in case of an inter-state sale i.e. Haryana to Karnataka.
SGST stands for State goods and service tax which is collected by the state government in case of intra-state sale i.e. within Haryana.
CGST stands for Central goods and service tax which is collected by the central government in case of an intra-state sale i.e. within Haryana.
If the sale is within a state then, CGST + SGST are applicable
If the sale in between two states then, IGST is applicable.
SCENARIO CHANGE BROUGHT BY GST INTRODUCTION
Before the introduction of GST, the tax laws were much more imposing forcing every purchaser to pay double tax i.e. tax on tax. This phenomenon is called tax cascading where taxes are paid double.
With the introduction of GST, this has been cut down to one-time tax payment with every value-addition.
GST has not only removed the cascading effect on taxes but also brought about a revolution in uplifting the unorganized sector and improving the economy. It has also unified the country on a single taxation-platform keeping the rules fair, just and same for all.