Come 1 ST APRIL 2010..
INDIAN ECONOMY .. WHICH IS FAMOUSLY GROWING AHEAD, BREACHING ALL NEW PEAKS , NOW AWAITS FOR A COMPELLING AND ENERGETIC TURN-AROUND IN ITS TAXATION FRAMEWORK , WHICH HAS INBOUND ABILITY TO HELP GOVERNMENT OF INDIA TO ENHANCE REVENUES AND MAINTAIN THE DEMOCRATIC CONSENSUS
THE IDEA OF A UNIFORM VAT/GST ACROSS GOODS AND SERVICES BY 2010 REITERATES THE NEED FOR HARMONISATION, TO START WITH, AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, OF THE TWO TAXES THAT OPERATE, I.E. THE CENVAT AND THE SERVICE TAX, IN TERMS OF BOTH A SINGLE RATE AS WELL AS A SINGLE TAX CODE. A HARMONISATION OF THESE TWO TAXES WOULD REMOVE THE DUALITY OF GOODS AND SERVICE TAXATION AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.
There was a burden of “tax on tax” in the pre-existing Central excise duty of the Government of India and sales tax system of the State Governments. The introduction of Central VAT (CENVAT) has removed the cascading burden of “tax on tax” to a good extent by providing a mechanism of “set off” for tax paid on inputs and services upto the stage of production, and has been an improvement over the pre-existing Central excise duty. Similarly, the introduction of VAT in the States has removed the cascading effect by giving set-off for tax paid on inputs as well as tax paid on previous purchases and has again been an improvement over the previous sales tax regime.
GST is a tax on goods and services with comprehensive and continuous chain of set-off benefits from the producer’s point and service provider’s point upto the retailer’s level. It is essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage, and a supplier at each stage is permitted to set-off, through a tax credit mechanism, the GST paid on the purchase of goods and services as available for set-off on the GST to be paid on the supply of goods and services. The final consumer will thus bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain, with set-off benefits at all the previous stages.
The Empowered Committee has decided to adopt a two-rate structure -a lower rate for necessary items and items of basic importance and a standard rate for goods in general. There will also be a special rate for precious metals and a list of exempted items. For upholding of special needs of each State as well as a balanced approach to federal flexibility, it is being discussed whether the exempted list under VAT regime including Goods of Local Importance may be retained in the exempted list under State GST in the initial years. It is also being discussed whether the Government of India may adopt, to begin with, a similar approach towards exempted list under the CGST.
For CGST relating to goods, the States considered that the Government of India might also have a two-rate structure, with conformity in the levels of rate with the SGST. For taxation of services, there may be a single rate for both CGST and SGST.
The present thresholds prescribed in different State VAT Acts below which VAT is not applicable varies from State to State. A uniform State GST threshold across States is desirable and, therefore, as already mentioned in Answer to Question 6, it has been considered that a threshold of gross annual turnover of Rs. 10 lakh both for goods and services for all the States and Union Territories might be adopted with adequate compensation for the States (particularly, the States in North-Eastern Region and Special Category States) where lower threshold had prevailed in the VAT regime. Keeping in view the interest of small traders and small scale industries and to avoid dual control, the States also considered that the threshold for Central GST for goods may be kept Rs.1.5 Crore and the threshold for services should also be appropriately high.