GST to be game changer; model code likely by late November: official
New Delhi: The proposed GST law will be a game changer for India Inc and the government will put up model code of the law in public domain by late November, a senior Finance Ministry official said today.
"We are working on the model GST (Goods and Services Tax) law. And as soon as that is made, I think by the third week of November, we should also have the model GST law also in the public domain," said the Special Revenue Secretary Rashmi Verma at a conference on October 20.
She was addressing a session on 'Taxing times for Indian Media & Entertainment (M&E) Industry - Is GST the Answer' in an event 'Big Picture Summit' organised by industry body CII. Verma said the ministry has already released three sets of business processes concerning the proposed GST law into the public domain and the fourth part of it, that is on returns, will be put onto the website today itself.
"We have already started the process of putting everything in the public domain. Three of the business processes are already there. "The fourth one, the returns, which again is an area of huge interest to all of you because all of you have to file returns, that also will be put on the website today, the returns part will also be there," she added.
The senior revenue official said that the rolling out of the GST is going to have a huge positive impact for all the industry including M&E as it will subsume the multiplicity of taxes as well as the cascading of the taxes. "You will not be dealing with multiple tax authorities. Just approach the common portal of the GST network (GSTN), pay your taxes and that's it. That's your responsibility as a tax payer," she assured the industry.
Verma said, "Multiplicity of tax will go in one stroke. Entertainment, services and goods tax both at the Centre and States will be built into one making compliance hassle free." However, she added that entertainment tax levied by local bodies like Panchayat, municipalities of various states etc. would remain the same since that is a major source of income to the local bodies. But the share of such taxes to the total tax collected would be insignificant. Close to 99 per cent of the taxes levied under the center and state dispensations would be merged with GST, Verma added.
On the model GST law, she said the government has already started the process of consultation with all the trade and industry across India and they have been asked to give their comments online.
"We are also having regional workshops in the country starting with Delhi on 26th (October), then Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. We are not only inviting the national level trade and industry institutions but also the state level and local level. So everybody is getting a chance to interact with us," said the official.
In reply to a question whether GST would complicate the process of levying taxes on the M&E segment such as advertisements where there would be multiple claimants for tax proceeds, she said such details were collated to decide the apportioning ratio of the proceeds of the tax among the Centre and states.
Trying to allay the concerns of the industry that definitional clarity was lacking between goods and services and tangible and intangible goods, Verma said that under the GST regime, goods and services would be taxed uniformly and equitably. Further, on the proposed 1 per cent additional tax which would be levied during the transitional period of GST for two years, she said that tax would be mainly on the manufacturing sector and the services would be kept out of that.
She also clarified that all industries would be eligible to take credit under GST to set off against other tax liabilities. "We are working on the transition roadmap so that the changeover hiccups will be minimal and if there are any concerns remaining, the GST Council which will be set up after the constitutional amendment will look into it and take corrective actions," she added.
V Krishnan, Member, Service Tax, Finance Ministry said that rate, technology and legislation would be the three pillars of GST. On the proposed rate, he said that National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) was looking into the possible rate structure, which could keep cascading effect to the minimal.
On technology, Infosys was entrusted with the task of creating a world class portal to provide for an IT platform for the implementation of the GST. While, on the law part, he assured that industry would be consulted at every stage to bring to the fore their views, concerns and suggestions to be incorporated in the GST framework.