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What is GST: Types, Process, Procedure

Updated: Apr 30

Introduction to GST

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) revolutionised taxation by replacing a myriad of central and state-level levies with a unified system, streamlining processes for businesses and taxpayers alike. Implemented in India on July 1, 2017, GST echoes a global trend initiated in France in 1954, aiming to eliminate tax cascading while enhancing transparency and compliance. By consolidating taxes like VAT, excise duty, and service taxes at the central level, along with state-level levies such as VAT and entry tax, GST simplified tax administration, curtails evasion, and fosters a more accountable system.

Furthermore, GST fosters economic efficiency by facilitating interstate trade and logistics through the removal of entry barriers and the promotion of competitiveness. Its objectives encompass broadening the tax base, increasing revenue for the government, and reducing compliance burdens, especially for small businesses, through streamlined online processes. In essence, GST represents a transformative shift towards a more coherent, transparent, and growth-oriented tax framework, poised to drive economic development and prosperity.

Advantages of GST

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is heralded as a monumental tax reform in India, offering a plethora of advantages and some drawbacks. Among its significant benefits are:

  1. Elimination of Tax Cascading: GST amalgamates various indirect taxes into a single framework, eradicating the cascading effect of taxes and simplifying compliance. Formerly, entities had to contend with separate returns for service tax and VAT, but with GST, they only need to file one return, streamlining the process of claiming tax credits.

  2. Uniform Tax Structure: GST unifies the entire nation under one tax regime, ensuring consistency in laws, processes, and tax rates across India.

  3. Streamlined Online Processes: All GST procedures, including registration and filing returns, can be initiated online. This digitalization has significantly simplified processes, enabling startups to register with GST services effortlessly.

  4. Regulation of the Unorganized Sector: GST streamlines compliance, payment, and claim processes, bringing the unorganized sector under the purview of GST norms.

  5. Composition Scheme for Small Businesses: Small businesses with turnovers up to Rs. 1.5 crore (Rs. 75 lakh for special category States) can benefit from GST's composition scheme, reducing their tax burden.

Additionally, the implementation of GST has replaced 17 indirect taxes with one uniform tax, reducing the cost of goods, stimulating demand, and generating increased revenue for both central and state governments.

Types of GST

GST encompasses four types:

  1. State Goods and Services Tax (SGST): Levied by state governments on intra-state transactions, with revenue collected by the state where the transactions occur.

  2. Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST): Imposed by the central government on intra-state transactions, with revenue collection responsibilities falling on the central government.

  3. Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST): Charged on inter-state transactions as well as imports and exports. Revenue collected through IGST is shared between the central and state governments as per GST regulations.

  4. Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (UGST): Applied by Union Territories on all transactions within their jurisdiction, following similar payment rules and revenue distribution mechanisms as GST.

GST applies to various entities, including:

  • Suppliers of goods and/or services with annual turnovers exceeding Rs. 20 lakh (Rs. 10 lakh for specific special category states), necessitating compulsory registration and payment of GST.

  • Those engaged in inter-state taxable supply of goods and/or services.

  • E-commerce operators.

  • Providers of branded services through e-commerce platforms.

  • Aggregators offering services under their brand.

  • Casual Taxable Persons.

  • Non-Resident Taxable Persons.

  • Persons required to deduct or collect tax (TDS/TCS).

  • Input Service Distributors.

  • Providers of online information and database access or retrieval services from outside India to individuals in India.

  • Persons liable to pay tax under Reverse Charge Mechanism.

  • Individuals supplying goods on behalf of other taxable persons (e.g., agents).

Agriculturists and those exclusively involved in supplying untaxed or wholly exempt goods and/or services are exempt from GST.

GST Tax Slabs

In India, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is structured into four main tax slabs, designed to accommodate various goods and services according to their nature and importance. These slabs are 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%. Additionally, there are specific rates for gold, semi-precious stones, and rough precious stones.

Here's a breakdown of the GST rates and the categories they cover:

  1. 5% Slab: Covers essential items and services such as apparel under Rs. 1,000, domestic LPG, medicines, packaged food items, and certain services like road transport by motor cabs and restaurants with a turnover of up to Rs. 50 lakh.

  2. 12% Slab: Includes goods like ayurvedic medicines, fruits, mobile phones, non-AC restaurants, sewing machines, and tooth powder. Services such as hotel stays with tariffs between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,500 per night and air tickets purchased for business class are also taxed at 12%.

  3. 18% Slab: Encompasses items like furniture, biscuits, cameras, footwear priced above Rs. 500, ice cream, steel products, and certain services like AC hotels serving alcohol, IT services, and hotels with room tariffs between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 5,000 per night.

  4. 28% Slab: Primarily for luxury items and services including aerated water, automobiles, ceramic tiles, chocolates without cocoa, washing machines, and certain services like 5-star hotels, gambling, and entertainment.

This breakdown provides a clear understanding of how different goods and services are taxed under the GST regime in India based on their classification into different tax slabs. Additionally, there are zero-rated supplies, which include goods exempted from GST altogether. It's essential to note that these rates ensure that essential goods and services remain affordable while luxury items are taxed at a higher rate, contributing to revenue generation.

GST Calculation

In India, GST (Goods and Services Tax) is calculated as a sum total of GST payable on reverse charge, inward supplies, and output supplies. This total is derived individually for every month, and you will have to pay the amount calculated while filing GST returns every month. As a taxpayer, one will have to consider all aspects and charges such as reverse charge, exempted supplies, inter-state sales, along with eligible, and non-eligible ITC, while calculating GST.

Calculating the right GST amount will help you evade the 18% interest that will be levied if the payment falls short of one’s actual obligation. An individual can also use the GST calculator available in the Government of India’s GST portal. It is to find out one’s  total tax liability by filling in all the necessary amounts under the mentioned heads, such as return filing month, current ledger balance, tax liability under RCM, etc.

GST Calculation Formula:

  1. GST amount = (Original price x GST rate) / 100 This calculates the amount of Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be added to the original price.

  2. Total price = Original price + GST amount This gives the total price, including the original price plus the GST amount.

GST Registration Process for Businesses:

The GST registration procedure is a crucial step for businesses liable to pay service tax, VAT, or central excise. Here's an overview of the process:

  1. Initiating Registration: Businesses can begin the GST registration process on the GST portal. Upon submission, the portal generates an Application Reference Number (ARN) instantly, which helps track the application status.

  2. Document Submission: Different types of businesses require various documents for registration. Here are the documents needed:

  3. Sole Proprietor or Individual: PAN, address proof, Aadhaar card of the owner, bank account details, owner's photograph.

  4. Partnership Firms (including LLP): PAN, address proof of partners and business premises, partnership deed copy, bank account details, photographs of partners and authorized signatories, proof of authorized signatory appointment.

  5. Hindu Undivided Family (HUF): PAN of HUF, address proof, bank account details, photograph of the owner, Aadhaar and PAN card of Karta.

  6. Company (Indian or Foreign, Public or Private): PAN of the company, bank details, address proof of principal place of business, PAN and Aadhaar card of authorized signatories, PAN and address proof of directors, Articles of Association or Memorandum of Association, proof of authorized signatory appointment, photographs of directors and authorized signatories, Certificate of Incorporation from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

  7. GST Registration Fees: There are no government-imposed GST registration fees for online registration. However, if professional assistance is sought, fees may apply.

  8. GST Login for Existing Users: Existing users can access GST services by logging into the GST portal using their credentials. This portal facilitates easy access to GSTIN, orders, notices, and other details.

  9. GST Return Filing: GST return filing is mandatory for registered dealers. Businesses with an annual turnover exceeding Rs. 5 crore must file one annual return and two monthly returns, totaling 25 returns annually. For Quarterly Return Monthly Payment (QRMP) scheme participants, the number of returns varies. Composite dealers and special cases also have specific filing requirements.

Overall, the GST registration process is aimed at ensuring compliance with tax regulations and facilitating seamless business operations within the GST framework.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about GST in India:

Q1. What is GST in India?

Answer) GST, or Goods and Services Tax, is an indirect tax levied on the supply of goods and services across India. It replaces numerous indirect taxes previously levied by the central and state governments.

Q2. What are the different types of GST in India?

 Answer) There are three main types of GST in India: CGST (Central Goods and Services Tax), SGST (State Goods and Services Tax), and IGST (Integrated Goods and Services Tax). CGST and SGST are applicable for intra-state transactions, while IGST is for inter-state transactions.

Q3. Who needs to register for GST in India?

 Answer) Any business or individual involved in the supply of goods or services with an annual turnover exceeding Rs. 20 lakh (Rs. 10 lakh for special category states) is required to register for GST in India.

Q4. How can I register for GST in India?

 Answer) You can register for GST online through the GST portal by providing necessary documents and information about your business. Once registered, you will receive a unique GST identification number (GSTIN).

Q5. What are the GST rates in India?

 Answer) GST rates in India are structured into four slabs: 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%, depending on the nature of the goods or services. Certain items may be taxed at lower rates or exempt from GST.

Q6. What is Input Tax Credit (ITC) under GST in India?

Answer) Input Tax Credit (ITC) allows businesses to claim credit for the GST paid on purchases of goods or services used in their business. It helps prevent the cascading effect of taxes and reduces the overall tax burden on businesses.

Q7. What is an e-way bill under GST in India?

Answer) An e-way bill is an electronic document required for the movement of goods worth more than Rs. 50,000 within or between states in India. It contains details such as the consignment, recipient, and transporter, and is generated online through the e-way bill portal.

Q8. What is GSTR under GST in India?

 Answer) GSTR (Goods and Services Tax Return) is a document that registered taxpayers need to file periodically to report their GST transactions to the tax authorities. It includes details of sales, purchases, and tax payments.

Q9. What is the composition scheme under GST in India?

Answer) The composition scheme is a simplified compliance scheme available to small businesses with an annual turnover below a specified threshold. Eligible businesses can opt for the composition scheme and pay tax at a fixed rate without the need to maintain detailed records.

Q10. How does GST benefit businesses and consumers in India?

 Answer) GST simplifies the tax structure, reduces tax cascading, promotes ease of doing business, and enhances tax compliance. It leads to a more transparent and efficient tax system, benefiting both businesses and consumers in India.


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