PARA 3 TO FIRST DISCUSSION PAPER ON GOODS AND SERVICE TAX BY EMPOWERED COMMITTEE HEADED BY DR ASIM DAS GUPTA.
3.3 The various Central, State and Local levies were examined to identify their possibility of being subsumed under GST. While identifying, the following principles were kept in mind:
(i) Taxes or levies to be subsumed should be primarily in the nature of indirect taxes, either on the supply of goods or on the supply of services.
(ii) Taxes or levies to be subsumed should be part of the transaction chain which commences with import/ manufacture/ production of goods or provision of services at one end and the consumption of goods and services at the other.
(iii) The subsumation should result in free flow of tax credit in intra and inter-State levels.
(iv) The taxes, levies and fees that are not specifically related to supply of goods & services should not be subsumed under GST.
(v) Revenue fairness for both the Union and the States individually would need to be attempted.
3.4 On application of the above principles, it is recommended that the following Central Taxes should be, to begin with, subsumed under the Goods and Services Tax:
(i) Central Excise Duty
(ii) Additional Excise Duties
(iii) The Excise Duty levied under the Medicinal and Toiletries Preparation Act
(iv) Service Tax
(v) Additional Customs Duty, commonly known as Countervailing Duty (CVD)
(vi) Special Additional Duty of Customs – 4% (SAD)
(vii) Surcharges, and
Following State taxes and levies would be, to begin with, subsumed under GST:
(i) VAT / Sales tax
(ii) Entertainment tax (unless it is levied by the local bodies).
(iii) Luxury tax
(iv) Taxes on lottery, betting and gambling.
(v) State Cesses and Surcharges in so far as they relate to supply of goods and services.
(vi) Entry tax not in lieu of Octroi.
Purchase tax: Some of the States felt that they are getting substantial revenue from Purchase Tax and, therefore, it should not be subsumed under GST while majority of the States were of the view that no such exemptions should be given. The difficulties of the foodgrains producing States and certain other States
were appreciated as substantial revenue is being earned by them from Purchase Tax and it was, therefore, felt that in case Purchase Tax has to be subsumed then adequate and continuing compensation has to be provided to such States. This issue is being discussed in consultation with the Government of India.
Tax on items containing Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages would be kept out of the purview of GST. Sales Tax/VAT can be continued to be levied on alcoholic beverages as per the existing practice. In case it has been made Vatable by some States, there is no objection to that. Excise Duty, which is presently being levied by the States may not be also affected.
Tax on Tobacco products: Tobacco products would be subjected to GST with ITC. Centre may be allowed to levy excise duty on tobacco products over and above GST without ITC.
Tax on Petroleum Products: As far as petroleum products are concerned, it was decided that the basket of petroleum products, i.e. crude, motor spirit (including ATF) and HSD would be kept outside GST as is the prevailing practice in India. Sales Tax could continue to be levied by the States on these products with prevailing floor rate. Similarly, Centre could also continue its levies. A final view whether Natural Gas should be kept outside the GST will be taken after further deliberations.
Taxation of Services : As indicated earlier, both the Centre and the States will have concurrent power to levy tax on all goods and services. In the case of States, the principle for taxation of intra-State and inter-State has already been formulated by the Working Group of Principal Secretaries/Secretaries of Finance/Taxation
and Commissioners of Trade Taxes with senior representatives of Department of Revenue, Government of India. For inter-State transactions an innovative model of Integrated GST will be adopted by appropriately aligning and integrating CGST and SGST. The working of this model is elaborated below.
3.5 Inter-State Transactions of Goods and Services
The Empowered Committee has accepted the recommendations of the Working Group of concerned officials of Central and State Governments for adoption of IGST model for taxation of inter-State transaction
of Goods and Services. The scope of IGST Model is that Centre would levy IGST which would be CGST plus SGST on all inter-State transactions of taxable goods and services with appropriate provision for consignment or stock transfer of goods and services. The inter-State seller will pay IGST on value addition after adjusting available credit of IGST, CGST, and SGST on his purchases. The Exporting State will transfer to the Centre the credit of SGST used in payment of IGST. The Importing dealer will claim credit of IGST while discharging his output tax liability in his own State. The Centre will transfer to the importing State the credit of IGST used in payment of SGST. The relevant information will also be submitted to the Central Agency which will act as a clearing house mechanism, verify the claims and inform the respective governments to transfer the funds.
The major advantages of IGST Model are:
- a) Maintenance of uninterrupted ITC chain on inter-State transactions.
- b) No upfront payment of tax or substantial blockage of funds for the inter-State seller or buyer.
- c) No refund claim in exporting State, as ITC is used up while paying the tax.
- d) Self monitoring model.
- e) Level of computerization is limited to inter-State dealers and Central and State Governments
should be able to computerize their processes expeditiously.
- f) As all inter-State dealers will be e-registered and correspondence with them will be by e-mail, the compliance level will improve substantially.
- g) Model can take ‘Business to Business’ as well as ‘Business to Consumer’ transactions into account.
3.6 GST Rate Structure
The Empowered Committee has decided to adopt a two-rate structure –a lower rate for necessary items and goods 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, and also for facilitating the introduction of GST, 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.
The States are of the view that for CGST relating to goods, the Government of India may also have a two-rate structure, with conformity in the levels of rate under the SGST. For taxation of services, there may be a single rate for both CGST and SGST.
The exact value of the SGST and CGST rates, including the rate for services, will be made known duly in course of appropriate legislative actions.
3.7 Zero Rating of Exports
Exports would be zero-rated. Similar benefits may be given to Special Economic Zones (SEZs). However, such benefits will only be allowed to the processing zones of the SEZs. No benefit to the sales from an SEZ to Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) will be allowed.
3.8 GST on Imports: The GST will be levied on imports with necessary Constitutional Amendments. Both CGST and SGST will be levied on import of goods and services into the country. The incidence of tax will follow the destination principle and the tax revenue in case of SGST will accrue to the State where the imported goods and services are consumed. Full and complete set-off will be available on the GST paid on import on goods and services.
3.9 Special Industrial Area Scheme
After the introduction of GST, the tax exemptions, remissions etc. related to industrial incentives should be converted, if at all needed, into cash refund schemes after collection of tax, so that the GST scheme on the basis of a continuous chain of set-offs is not disturbed. Regarding Special Industrial Area Schemes, it is clarified that such exemptions, remissions etc. would continue up to legitimate expiry time both for the Centre and the States. Any new exemption, remission etc. or continuation of earlier exemption, remission etc. would not be allowed. In such cases, the Central and the State Governments could provide reimbursement after collecting GST.
3.10 IT Infrastructure
After acceptance of IGST Model for Inter-State transactions, the major responsibilities of IT infrastructural requirement will be shared by the Central Government through the use of its own IT infrastructure facility. The issues of tying up the State Infrastructure facilities with the Central facilities as well as further improvement of the States’ own IT infrastructure, including TINXSYS, is now to be addressed expeditiously and in a time bound manner.
3.11 Constitutional Amendments, Legislations and Rules for administration of CGST and SGST
It is essential to have Constitutional Amendments for empowering the States for levy of service tax, GST on imports and consequential issues as well as corresponding Central and State legislations with associated rules and procedures. With these specific tasks in view, a Joint Working Group has recently been constituted (September 30, 2009) comprising of the officials of the Central and State Governments to prepare, in a time bound manner a draft legislation for Constitutional Amendment, draft legislation for CGST, a suitable Model Legislation for SGST and rules and procedures for CGST and SGST. Simultaneous steps have also been initiated for drafting of a legislation for IGST and rules and procedures. As a part of this exercise, the Working Group will also address the issues of dispute resolution and advance ruling.
3.12 Harmonious structure of GST and the States’ autonomy in a Federal Framework
As a part of the exercise on Constitutional Amendment, a special attention would be given, as mentioned earlier in para 3.2, to the formulation of a mechanism for upholding the need for a harmonious structure for GST along with the concern for the States’ autonomy in a federal structure.
3.13 Dispute Resolution and Advance Ruling
As a part of the exercise on drafting of legislation, rules and procedures for the administration of CGST and SGST, specific provisions would also be made to the issues of dispute resolution and advance ruling.
3.14 Need for compensation during implementation of GST
Despite the sincere attempts being made by the Empowered Committee on the determination of GST rate structure, revenue neutral rates, it is difficult to estimate accurately as to how much the States will gain from service taxes and how much they will lose on account of removal of cascading effect, payment of input tax credit and phasing out of CST. In view of this,
it would be essential to provide adequately for compensation for loss that might emerge during the process of implementation of GST for the next five years. This issue may be comprehensively taken care of in
the recommendations of the Thirteenth Finance Commission. The payment of this compensation will need to be ensured in terms of special grants to be released to the States duly in every month on the basis of neutrally monitored mechanism.
3.15 With the release of this First Discussion Paper and the Annexure on Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on GST, interaction with the representatives of industry, trade and agriculture would begin immediately at the national level, and then also simultaneously at the State levels. Similarly awareness campaign for common consumers would also be initiated at the same time. As a part of the discussion and campaign, the views of the industry, trade and agriculture as well as consumers are being sought in a structured and time bound manner.