With the 101st Constitution Amendment Act coming into force on 8th September, 2016 and notification of the GST Council on 15th September – the road to GST rollout is clear. Government is keen on introducing GST- the biggest indirect tax reform, with effect from 01 April 2017. One of the biggest challenges is to train the indirect tax officials of both Centre and State, as well as the trade on the concepts, processes and procedures of GST.
National Academy of Customs, Excise & Narcotics (NACEN), the apex training institution for capacity building in indirect taxation under the Central Board of Excise and Customs, has been mandated to impart training on GST to Central and State Government officers. NACEN is conducting a mammoth capacity building exercise to train about 60,000 indirect tax officers of the Centre and State so that officers are well equipped to implement GST when it is rolled out. NACEN has already created a team of almost 2000 trainers across the country to train the field officers. Considering the limited time available, NACEN apart from Classroom training, is also planning to use advanced information technology tools, such as Virtual Classrooms and E-Learning modules, to ensure larger coverage.
As part of this capacity building exercise, the NACEN
has prepared a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ) based on inputs gathered while conducting training and interactive sessions, as a training tool for helping the officers as well as public, to get acquainted with the Model GST Law and its nuances. The FAQs have been prepared and reviewed by a team of officials from both Centre and States. I congratulate all the officers who worked in the preparation of this booklet, and NACEN for their efforts.
I am sure that this FAQ compilation covering 24 topics with over 500 questions, will be an effective tool in disseminating knowledge on GST to Tax officials, Trade and Public. This is the first version based on the Model GST Law which has been released in the public domain. NACEN will bring out updated versions of the FAQ, as and when relevant statutes are enacted and rules are framed.
Najib Shah Chairman, CBEC
Prepared by: Shri Deepak Mata, Assistant Director, NACEN Mumbai and Sanjeev Nair, Examiner, CESTAT Mumbai under the supervision of Shri Samir Bajaj, Additional Director, NACEN, Mumbai
Comments and Suggestions on FAQ may please be sent to email@example.com
This FAQ on GST compiled by NACEN and vetted by the Source Trainers is based on the draft Model GST Law released in pub- lic domain in June, 2016. This FAQ is for training and academic purposes only.
The information in this booklet is intended only to provide a general overview and is not intended to be treated as legal ad- vice or opinion. For greater details, you are requested to refer to the model GST law.
Overview of Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Overview of Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Q 1. What is Goods and Service Tax (GST)?
Ans. It is a destination based tax on consumption of goods and services. It is proposed to be levied at all stages right from manufacture up to final consumption with credit of taxes paid at previous stages available as setoff. In a nutshell, only value addition will be taxed and burden of tax is to be borne by the final consumer.
Q 2. What exactly is the concept of destination based tax on consumption?
Ans. The tax would accrue to the taxing authority which has jurisdiction over the place of consumption which is also termed as place of supply.
Q 3. Which of the existing taxes are proposed to be subsumed under GST?
Ans. The GST would replace the following taxes: (i) taxes currently levied and collected by the Centre:
a. Central Excise duty
b. Duties of Excise (Medicinal and Toilet Preparations)
c. Additional Duties of Excise (Goods of Special Importance)
d. Additional Duties of Excise (Textiles and Textile Products)
e. Additional Duties of Customs (commonly known as CVD)
f. Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD)
g. Service Tax
h. Central Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods and services
(ii) State taxes that would be subsumed under the GST are:
a. State VAT
b. Central Sales Tax
c. Luxury Tax
d. Entry Tax (all forms)
e. Entertainment and Amusement Tax (except when levied by the local bodies)
f. Taxes on advertisements
g. Purchase Tax
h. Taxes on lotteries, betting and gambling
i. State Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods and services
The GST Council shall make recommendations to the Union and States on the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Centre, the States and the local bodies which may be subsumed in the GST.
Q 4. What principles were adopted for subsuming the above taxes under GST?
Ans. 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. 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.
Q 5. Which are the commodities proposed to be kept outside the purview of GST?
Ans. Alcohol for human consumption, Petroleum Products viz. petroleum crude, motor spirit (petrol), high speed diesel, natural gas and aviation turbine fuel & Electricity.
Q 6. What will be the status in respect of taxation of above commodities after introduction of GST?
Ans. The existing taxation system (VAT & Central Excise) will continue in respect of the above commodities.
Q 6A. What will be status of Tobacco and Tobacco products under the GST regime?
Ans. Tobacco and tobacco products would be subject to GST. In addition, the Centre would have the power to levy Central Excise duty on these products.
Q 7. What type of GST is proposed to be implemented?
Ans. It would be a dual GST with the Centre and States simultaneously levying it on a common tax base. The GST to be levied by the Centre on intra-State supply of goods
and / or services would be called the Central GST (CGST) and that to be levied by the States would be called the State GST (SGST). Similarly Integrated GST (IGST) will be levied and administered by Centre on every inter-state supply of goods and services.
Q 8. Why is Dual GST required?
Ans. India is a federal country where both the Centre and the States have been assigned the powers to levy and collect taxes through appropriate legislation. Both the levels of Government have distinct responsibilities to perform according to the division of powers prescribed in the Constitution for which they need to raise resources. A dual GST will, therefore, be in keeping with the Constitutional requirement of fiscal federalism.
Q 9. Which authority will levy and administer GST?
Ans. Centre will levy and administer CGST & IGST while respective states will levy and administer SGST.
Q 10. Why was the Constitution of India amended recently in the context of GST?
Ans. Currently, the fiscal powers between the Centre and the States are clearly demarcated in the Constitution with almost no overlap between the respective domains. The Centre has the powers to levy tax on the manufacture of goods (except alcoholic liquor for human consumption,opium, narcotics etc.) while the States have the powers to levy tax on the sale of goods. In the case of inter-State sales, the Centre has the power to levy a tax (the Central Sales Tax) but, the tax is collected and retained entirely by the States. As for services, it is the Centre alone that is empowered to levy service tax. Introduction of the GST required amendments in the Constitution so as to simultaneously empower the Centre and the States to levy and collect this tax. The Constitution of India has been amended by the Constitution (one hundred and first amendment) Act, 2016 recently for this purpose. Article 246A of the Constitution empowers the Centre and the States to levy and collect the GST.
Q 11. How a particular transaction of goods and services would be taxed simultaneously under Central GST (CGST) and State GST (SGST)?
Ans. The Central GST and the State GST would be levied simultaneously on every transaction of supply of goods and services except the exempted goods and services, goods which are outside the purview of GST and the transactions which are below the prescribed threshold limits. Further, 8 both would be levied on the same price or value unlike State VAT which is levied on the value of the goods inclusive of CENVAT. While the location of the supplier and the recipient within the country is immaterial for the purpose of CGST, SGST would be chargeable only when the supplier and the recipient are both located within the State.
Illustration I: Suppose hypothetically that the rate of CGST is 10% and that of SGST is 10%. When a wholesale dealer of steel in Uttar Pradesh supplies steel bars and rods to a construction company which is also located within the same State for, say Rs. 100, the dealer would charge CGST of Rs. 10 and SGST of Rs. 10 in addition to the basic price of the goods. He would be required to deposit the CGST component into a Central Government account while the SGST portion into the account of the concerned State Government. Of course, he need not actually pay Rs. 20 (Rs. 10 + Rs. 10 ) in cash as he would be entitled to set-off this liability against the CGST or SGST paid on his purchases (say, inputs). But for paying CGST he would be allowed to use only the credit of CGST paid on his purchases while for SGST he can utilize the credit of SGST alone. In other words, CGST credit cannot, in general, be used for payment of SGST. Nor can SGST credit be used for payment of CGST.
Illustration II: Suppose, again hypothetically, that the
rate of CGST is 10% and that of SGST is 10%. When an advertising company located in Mumbai supplies advertising services to a company manufacturing soap also located within the State of Maharashtra for, let us say Rs. 100, the ad company would charge CGST of Rs. 10 as well as SGST of Rs. 10 to the basic value of the service. He would be required to deposit the CGST component into a Central Government account while the SGST portion into the account of the concerned State Government. Of course, he need not again actually pay Rs. 20 (Rs. 10+Rs. 10) in cash as it would be entitled to set-off this liability against the CGST or SGST paid on his purchase (say, of inputs such as stationery, office equipment, services of an artist etc). But for paying CGST he would be allowed to use only the credit of CGST paid on its purchase while for SGST he can utilise the credit of SGST alone. In other words, CGST credit cannot, in general, be used for payment of SGST. Nor can SGST credit be used for payment of CGST.
Q 12. What are the benefits which the Country will accrue from GST?
Ans. Introduction of GST would be a very significant step in the field of indirect tax reforms in India. By amalgamating a large number of Central and State taxes into a single tax and allowing set-off of prior-stage taxes, it would mitigate the ill effects of cascading and pave the way for a common national market. For the consumers, the biggest gain would be in terms of a reduction in the overall tax burden on goods, which is currently estimated at 25%-30%. Introduction of GST would also make our products competitive in the domestic and international markets. Studies show that this would instantly spur economic growth. There may also be revenue gain for the Centre and the States due to widening
of the tax base, increase in trade volumes and improved tax compliance. Last but not the least, this tax, because of its transparent character, would be easier to administer.
Q 13. What is IGST?
Ans. Under the GST regime, an Integrated GST (IGST) would be levied and collected by the Centre on inter-State supply of goods and services. Under Article 269A of the Constitution, the GST on supplies in the course of inter-State trade or commerce shall be levied and collected by the Government of India and such tax shall be apportioned between the Union and the States in the manner as may be
provided by Parliament by law on the recommendations of the Goods and Services Tax Council.
Q 14. Who will decide rates for levy of GST?
Ans. The CGST and SGST would be levied at rates to be jointly decided by the Centre and States. The rates would be notified on the recommendations of the GST Council.
Q 15. What would be the role of GST Council?
Ans. A GST Council would be constituted comprising the Union Finance Minister (who will be the Chairman of the Council), the Minister of State (Revenue) and the State Finance/Taxation Ministers to make recommendations to the Union and the States on
(i) the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Centre, the States and the local bodies which may be subsumed under GST;
(ii) the goods and services that may be subjected to or exempted from the GST;
(iii) the date on which the GST shall be levied on petroleum crude, high speed diesel, motor sprit
(commonly known as petrol), natural gas and aviation turbine fuel;
(iv) model GST laws, principles of levy, apportionment of IGST and the principles that govern the place
(v) the threshold limit of turnover below which the goods and services may be exempted from GST;
(vi) the rates including floor rates with bands of GST;
(vii) any special rate or rates for a specified period to raise additional resources during any natural
calamity or disaster;
(viii) special provision with respect to the North-East States, J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand; and
(ix) any other matter relating to the GST, as the Council may decide.
Q 16. What is the guiding principle of GST Council?
Ans. The mechanism of GST Council would ensure harmonization on different aspects of GST between the Centre and the States as well as among States. It has been provided in the Constitution (one hundred and first amendment) Act, 2016 that the GST Council, in its discharge of various functions, shall be guided by the need for a harmonized structure of GST and for the development of a harmonized national market for goods and services.
Q 17. How will decisions be taken by GST Council?
Ans. The Constitution (one hundred and first amendment) Act, 2016 provides that every decision of the GST Council shall be taken at a meeting by a majority of not less than 3/4th of the weighted votes of the Members present and voting. The vote of the Central Government shall have a weightage of 1/3rd of the votes cast and the votes of all the State Governments taken together shall have a weightage
of 2/3rd of the total votes cast in that meeting. One half of the total number of members of the GST Council shall constitute the quorum at its meetings.
Q 18. Who is liable to pay GST under the proposed GST regime?
Ans. Under the GST regime, tax is payable by the taxable person on the supply of goods and/or services. Liability to pay tax arises when the taxable person crosses the threshold exemption, i.e. Rs.10 lakhs (Rs. 5 lakhs for NE States) except in certain specified cases where the taxable person is liable
to pay GST even though he has not crossed the threshold limit. The CGST / SGST is payable on all intra-State supply of goods and/or services and IGST is payable on all inter-
State supply of goods and/or services. The CGST /SGST and IGST are payable at the rates specified in the Schedules to the respective Acts.
Q 19. What are the benefits available to small tax payers under the GST regime?
Ans. Tax payers with an aggregate turnover in a financial year up to [Rs.10 lakhs] would be exempt from tax. [Aggregate turnover shall include the aggregate value of all taxable and non-taxable supplies, exempt supplies and exports of goods and/or services and exclude taxes viz. GST.] Aggregate turnover shall be computed on all India basis. For NE States and Sikkim, the exemption threshold shall be [Rs. 5 lakhs]. All taxpayers eligible for threshold exemption will have the option of paying tax with input tax credit (ITC) benefits. Tax payers making inter-State supplies or paying tax on reverse charge basis shall not be eligible for threshold exemption.
Q 20. How will the goods and services be classified under GST regime?
Ans. HSN (Harmonised System of Nomenclature) code shall be used for classifying the goods under the GST regime. Taxpayers whose turnover is above Rs. 1.5 crores but below Rs. 5 crores shall use 2 digit code and the taxpayers whose turnover is Rs. 5 crores and above shall use 4 digit code. Taxpayers whose turnover is below Rs. 1.5 crores are not required to mention HSN Code in their invoices. Services will be classified as per the Services Accounting Code (SAC)
Q 21. How will imports be taxed under GST?
Ans. Imports of Goods and Services will be treated as inter-state supplies and IGST 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.
Q 22. How will Exports be treated under GST?
Ans. Exports will be treated as zero rated supplies. No tax will be payable on exports of goods or services, however credit of input tax credit will be available and same will be available as refund to the exporters.
Q 23. What is the scope of composition scheme under GST?
Ans. Small taxpayers with an aggregate turnover in a financial year up to [Rs. 50 lakhs] shall be eligible for composition levy. Under the scheme, a taxpayer shall pay tax as a percentage of his turnover during the year without the benefit of ITC. The floor rate of tax for CGST and SGST shall not be less than [1%]. A tax payer opting for composition levy shall not collect any tax from his customers. Tax payers making inter- state supplies or paying tax on reverse charge basis shall not be eligible for composition scheme.
Q 24. Whether the composition scheme will be optional or compulsory?
Q 25. What is GSTN and its role in the GST regime?
Ans. GSTN stands for Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN). A Special Purpose Vehicle called the GSTN has been set up to cater to the needs of GST. The GSTN shall provide a shared IT infrastructure and services to Central and State Governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of GST. The functions of the GSTN would, inter alia, include:
(i) facilitating registration;
(ii) forwarding the returns to Central and State authorities;
(iii) computation and settlement of IGST;
(iv) matching of tax payment details with banking network;
(v) providing various MIS reports to the Central and the State Governments based on the tax payer return information;
(vi) providing analysis of tax payers’ profile; and
(vii) running the matching engine for matching, reversal and reclaim of input tax credit.
The GSTN is developing a common GST portal and applications for registration, payment, return and MIS/ reports. The GSTN would also be integrating the common GST portal with the existing tax administration IT systems and would be building interfaces for tax payers. Further, the GSTN is developing back-end modules like assessment, audit, refund, appeal etc. for 19 States and UTs (Model II States). The CBEC and Model I States (15 States) are themselves developing their GST back-end systems. Integration of GST front-end system with back-end systems will have to be completed and tested well in advance for making the transition smooth.
Q 26. How are the disputes going to be resolved under the GST regime?
Ans. The Constitution (one hundred and first amendment) Act, 2016 provides that the Goods and Services Tax Council shall establish a mechanism to adjudicate any dispute16
(a) between the Government of India and one or more States; or
(b) between the Government of India and any State or States on one side and one or more other Sates on the other side; or
(c) between two or more States, arising out of the recommendations of the Council or
Q 27. What are the other legislative requirements for introduction of the GST?
Ans. Suitable legislation for the levy of GST (Central GST Bill, Integrated GST Bill and State GST Bills) drawing powers from the Constitution would need to be passed by the Parliament and the State Legislatures. Unlike the Constitutional Amendment which requires 2/3rd majority, the GST Bills would need to be passed by a simple majority Obviously, the levy of the tax can commence only after the GST law has been enacted by the Parliament and respective Legislatures.
Levy of and Exemption
Levy of and Exemption from Tax
Q 1. Where is the power to levy GST derived from?
Ans. Article 246A of the Constitution, which was introduced by the Constitution (101st Amendment) Act, 2016 confers concurrent powers to both parliament and state legislatures to make laws with respect to GST. However, -clause 2 of Article 246A read with Article 269A provides exclusive power to the Parliament to legislate with respect to inter-state trade or commerce.
Q 2. What is the taxable event under GST?
Ans. Supply of goods and/or services. CGST & SGST will be levied on intra-state supplies while IGST will be levied on inter-state supplies. The charging section is section 7 (1) of CGST/SGST Act and Section 4(1) of the IGST Act.
Q 3. Is the reverse charge mechanism applicable only to services?
Ans. No, reverse charge applies to supplies of both goods and services.
Q 4. What will be the implications in case of purchase of goods from unregistered dealers?
Ans. The receiver of goods will not be able to get ITC. Further, the recipients who are registered under composition schemes would be liable to pay tax under reverse charge.
Q 5. In respect of exchange of goods, namely gold watch for restaurant services will the transaction be taxable as two different supplies or will it be taxable only in the hands of the main supplier?
Ans. No. In the above case the transaction of supply of watch from consumer to the restaurant will not be an independent supply as the same is not in the course of business. It is a consideration for a supply made by the restaurant to him. The same will be a taxable supply by the restaurant.
Q 6. Whether supplies made without consideration will also come within the purview of Supply under GST?
Ans. Yes only those cases which are specified under Schedule I to the Model GST Law.
Q 7. Who can notify a transaction to be supply of goods and/or services?
Ans. Central Government or State Government on the recommendation of the GST Council can notify a transaction to be the supply of goods and/or services.
Q 8. Will a taxable person be eligible to opt for composition scheme only for one out of 3 business verticals?
Ans. No, composition scheme would become applicable for all the business verticals/registrations which are separately held by the person with same PAN
Q 9. Can composition scheme be availed if the taxable person effects inter-State supplies?
Ans. No, composition scheme is applicable subject to the condition that the taxable person does not affect interstate supplies.
Q 10. Can the taxable person under composition scheme claim input tax credit?
Ans. No, taxable person under composition scheme is not eligible to claim input tax credit.
Q 11. Can the customer who buys from a taxable person who is under the composition scheme claim composition tax as input tax credit?
Ans. No, customer who buys goods from taxable person who is under composition scheme is not eligible for composition input tax credit because a composition scheme supplier cannot issue a tax invoice
Q 12. Can composition tax be collected fromcustomers?
Ans. No, the taxable person under composition scheme is restricted from collecting tax. It means that a composition scheme supplier cannot issue a tax invoice.
Q 13. What is the threshold for opting to pay tax under the composition scheme?
Ans. The threshold for composition scheme is Rs. 50 Lakhs of aggregate turnover in financial year.
Q 14. How to compute ‘aggregate turnover’ to determine eligibility for composition scheme?
Ans. The methodology to compute aggregate turnover is given in Section 2(6). Accordingly, ‘aggregate turnover’ means ‘Value of all supplies (taxable and non-taxable supplies + Exempt supplies + Exports) and it excludesTaxes levied under CGST Act, SGST Act and IGST Act, Value of inward supplies + Value of supplies taxable under reverse charge of a person having the same PAN.
Q 15. What are the penal consequences if a taxable person violates the condition and is not eligible for payment of tax under the Composition scheme?
Ans. Taxable person who was not eligible for the composition scheme would be liable to pay tax, interest and in addition he shall also be liable to a penalty equivalent to the amount of tax payable. (Section 8 (3) of the MGL).
Q 16. What is the minimum rate of tax prescribed for composition scheme?
Q 17. When exemption from whole of tax collected on goods and/or services has been granted unconditionally, can taxable person pay tax?
Ans. No, the taxable person providing such goods or services shall not collect the tax on such goods or services.
Q 18. What is remission of tax/duty?
Ans. It means relieving the tax payer from the obligation to pay taxon goods when they are lost or destroyed due to any natural causes. Remission is subject to conditions stipulated under the law and rules made thereunder.
Q 19. Whether remission is allowed under GST law?
Ans. Yes, proposed section 11 of Model GST law permits remission of tax on supply of goods.
Q 20. Whether remission is allowed for goods lost or destroyed before supply?
Ans. Remission of tax will apply only when tax is payable as per law i.e. taxable event should have happened and tax is required to be paid as per law. Under GST Law, levy is applicable upon supply of goods. Where goods are lost or destroyed before supply, taxable event does not occur in order to pay tax. Accordingly, question of remission of tax does not rise.
Q 21. Whether remission is allowed on goods lost or destroyed for all reasons?
Ans. No, on plain reading of the language of proposed Section 11, remission is allowed only for those cases where supply of goods is found to be deficient in quantity due to natural causes.
Q 22. Does the model GST Law empower the competent government to exempt supplies from the levy of GST?
Ans. Yes. Under Section 10 of the Model GST Law, the Central or the State Government, on the recommendation of the GST council can exempt the supplies from the levy of GST either generally or subject to conditions.