With the onset of the year 2019, officially had its 2nd birthday. GST which stands for goods and services tax is an indirect tax levied by the government on most products consumers use for domestic purposes. It currently has four GST tax slabs -- 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent.
Reviewing the pre GST period:
Before the introduction of GST, the tax was levied by both central and state governments at various levels at different rates. The GST merged all these different laws and created one single taxation. The pre-GST rate of taxation as a standard rate for VAT was 14.5%, excise at 12.5% and added with the CST and the cascading effect of tax on tax, the tax payable by the consumer was 31%. The assesses had to file multiple returns, entertain multiple inspectors and additionally face many inefficiencies.
Two years after the implementation of GST:
The introduction of GST changed this scenario completely. Currently, only one tax is applied to everything with online return facilities, hence zero scopes for any discrepancies.
In these two years. GST has reached several milestones-
Widening TaxPayers’ Base: The number of GST registrations at the time when the GST was rolled out was 65 lakh, which today stands at 1.23 crore, a jump of 84 percent over the last two years. This shows a significant widening of the tax base and formalization of the economy under the GST.
Higher Revenue: In the eight months of 2017-18 (July to March), the average revenue collected Rs.89,700 crore per month. In the second year, this value almost doubled. Currently, it stands at 1.03 crores per month The total GST collected has summed up to a value of Rs 1.02 Lakh Crore.
Increase in GST Returns Filing: This year has also seen a rise in the total number of GST returns filed by consumers. With a value of 21.73 Lakhs returns filed in a single day, the total returns filed stands at a value of 32.41 crores.
Rate Rationalization: When the GST rates were first formulated, over 200 goods were kept in the 28 percent rate bracket. The number of goods under 28 percent slab has been cut down to eighteen. There are other goods and services whose tax rates have been reduced. For example,
GST on restaurant services has been brought down from 18 percent to 5 percent. GST rates on affordable housing projects have been reduced from 8 percent to 1 percent and on non-affordable housing projects from 12 percent to 5 percent.
Number of Returns: When the GST was rolled out, there was a provision for three monthly returns - for sales, for purchases and a composite return - and one annual return. When businesses complained about a huge compliance burden due to the requirement of 37 returns being filed in a year, the GST Council did away with the purchase return. Now businesses have to file two returns - GSTR1 for sales and GSTR 3B, a composite return.
Simplification and Compliance: Businesses up to an annual turnover of Rs.40 lakh are GST exempt. Those with a turnover up to Rs.1.5 crore can make use of the composition scheme and pay only one percent tax. There is now a single GST registration system that works online and the procedures for the trade and business are reviewed and simplified regularly. For the first month (July 2017), only 38 lakh out of 68 lakh registered taxpayers had filed GSTR 3B returns by August 25. By April 2019, this figure reached a groundbreaking 72.5 lakh.
E-way Bill: E-way bill is a document every trader and transporter has to generate in order to transport goods across states. It came into existence from April 1, 2018. The total number of E-way bills generated stands at a whopping 81.77 crores.
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