GST rollout: How it happened

GST rollout: How it happened

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New Delhi: Goods and Services Tax (GST), a historic tax reform, will come into effect from midnight tonight, i e July 1, 2017 which will completely transform the Indirect Taxation landscape in the country involving both the Central and State levies. In a departure from the normal practice, GST will be administered together by the Centre and States. Why is GST so important? The biggest tax reform since independence - GST - will pave the way for realisation of the goal of One Nation - One Tax - One Market. GST will benefit all the stakeholders namely industry, government and consumer. It will lower the cost of goods and services, give a boost to the economy and make the products and services globally competitive, giving a major boost to 'Make in India' initiative. Under the GST regime, exports will be zero-rated in entirety unlike the present system where refund of some of the taxes does not take place due to fragmented nature of indirect taxes between the Centre and the States. GST will make India a common market with common tax rates & procedures and remove economic barriers. GST is largely technology driven and will reduce the human interface to a great extent. GST is expected to improve ease of doing business in India. In majority of supplies of goods, the tax incidence approved by the GST Council is much lower than the present combined indirect tax rates levied [on account of central excise duty rates / embedded central excise duty rates / service tax post-clearance embedding, VAT rates or weighted average VAT rates, cascading of VAT over excise duty and tax incidence on account of CST, Octroi, Entry Tax, etc.] by the Centre and State(s). Journey of GST after the Constitutional Amendment Act, 2016 After the assent of the President on 8th September, 2016, the 101th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2016 came into existence. The GST Council was constituted on September 15, 2016. Since its formation in September, 2016 the GST Council has held 18 meetings. The Finance Ministers of all the States or their representative along with State and Central govt officials have participated in these extensive meetings and formulated the law and procedure to implement this historic tax reform. It was a mammoth task involving 27000 plus man hours of intensive work. More than 200 meetings of the officers of the Centre and States took place in different parts of the country to expedite the implementation of GST. In a short span of time, the GST council has cleared GST laws, GST Rules, Tax rate structure including Compensation Cess, Classification of goods and services into different rate slabs, exemptions, thresholds, structure for tax administration, etc. All the decisions of Council were taken with consensus.

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