Monday, December 26, 2016

Implementation of GST in India

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has approved the draft Central GST and State GST laws. The council has an  agreement  on compensation also in respect of proceeds on cess on sin goods and on other sources. However, due to demonetization, market growth rate has slowed down leading to less revenues of state governments. States may expect additional compensation to bridge the revenue gaps due to demonetization. However, the major issue in GST council is of dual control. This issue has not yet resolved. If the demand of states for dual control is allowed, it will be against the spirit of the GST i.e. one law for one nation. The barrier is the provisions of Integrated GST. The Integrated GST (IGST) is meant for inter-state supplies. On inter state sales, the Centre would levy IGST and will share the tax collected with the states. Once it is agreed that the Centre has the responsibility to tax inter-state supplies, the maintainance of check-posts at state borders is not necessary. The government is considering to convert check post digital through electronic receipts to facilitate movement of goods from one state to another. In my opinion, if check posts are meant for checking the movement of goods from one state to another and ensuring proper revenue collection, the inbuilt provisions of IGST would be more appropriate than the physical control at check posts. Government may consider smart passes at tolls of GPS system to track the movement of goods vehicles. 
A lot of time and efforts have been taken to implement the GST at the earliest with target financial year 2017-18. However, due to prolonged discussion in GST Council on remaining differences over IGST and dual control, even if the matter is resolved, passing/amending the laws by Parliament and state assemblies within March 2016 will be a herculean task. Thereafter, a lot of rules, procedures, forms etc. need to be developed for compliance of laws. Therafter only, companies will be able to issue an invoice and upload it to the GST Network in compliance with all the rules. The success of GST depends on the its simplicity in the matter of compliance which ensures the taxpayers that they do not face undue harassment and they of ease of access.