In India, Our tax structure is very complicated and they are categorized into central government taxes such as the service taxes, central surcharges and central cesses. Then they are separate taxes levied by the state government which are - VAT/sales taxes, entertainment tax, luxury tax, and state taxes. India's taxation is fragmented, and can be a bit complex. There are separate taxes for goods and services, and this necessitates division of transaction values into value of goods and values of services for taxation, leading to greater complications, increased administrative work, and higher compliance costs. Thus, the consumer ends up paying multiple taxes levied by the centre, and also has to pay taxes imposed by various state governments, on services and materials that go into making a single product, and transporting this product from the factory to the retail outlet. Union Cabinet approved four legislations that were needed to get the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Parliament, Earlier these bills were approved by the GST Council.
GST Council, which comprises of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his counterparts had finalise the tax slabs that are simpler. This should bring relief all around, as a GST rollout spells a "One-Country-One-Tax" regime that subsumes all indirect taxes at the centre and the state level, thereby reducing the cascading effect on taxes. This also helps to reduce or even eliminate tax evasion and accompanying corrupt practices, creates greater transparency, increase productivity, and thereby a greater tax-GDP ratio. In fact the implementation of GST law would lead to an increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country by 1-2%. This in turn will lead to the creation of more employment and increase in productivity. Incidentally, for GST to become a reality in India, the GST Bill needs to be passed by a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament, and by the legislatures of half of the 29 States. The four mentioned bills were passed by the Lok Sabha on 30 March 2020, and will soon be discussed in the Rajya Sabha. Taxes on all products and services haven't been spelled out yet. However, here are some of the changes that GST is expected to bring.
While food grains will remain untaxed, mass consumption products such as packaged salts and spices will fall under the 5% tax bracket. Products like oil, soaps, toothpaste etc. that were previously taxed at over 20%, will be taxed between 12% and 18% under GST. White goods such as washing machines, air conditioners and refrigerators previously taxed at 30%-31%, will be taxed at around 28% post the GST roll out. Some services that will not fall under GST and will remain untaxed, include healthcare, education, distribution and transmission of electricity, pilgrimages, public conveniences, and services rendered by the RBI and Government. Tax structure if simplified, can reduce the hassles of filing tax forms by merchants, and transaction costs for manufacturers. Moreover, with the tax filing process going digital, transparency will be brought into tax administration, leading to less tax evasion. At the macro level, the national economy is set to benefit, as eventually, competitiveness will increase, as will be job opportunities and exports. With the emergence of a common national market, one area to get a massive e-commerce market, expected to cross the $100 billion by 2020. Managing CST and VAT issues in the GST regime stands to get easier in coming days. Overall, the GST Bill has more positives than negatives. Hopefully, with GST, the confusion over multiple taxations, tax evasions and accumulation of black money will be things of the past.