The Goods and Services Tax (GST) – GST Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on 6th May, 2015. The concept of GST in India has been mooted and evolved for over a decade now. With the GST Bill passing the Lok Sabha, it is now slated to be presented to the Rajya Sabha. Once cleared by the Rajya Sabha, the Bill would set in motion the rollout of GST in April, 2016, transforming India’s indirect taxation system. In this article, we review some of the major advantages of GST implementation in India for start-ups and small businesses.
GST or Goods and Services Tax is a value added tax, levied at all points in the supply chain with credit allowed for any tax paid on inputs acquired for use in making the supply. Therefore, it is the end consumer who bears this tax as the last person/entity in the supply chain.
While starting a new business in India, businesses currently have to get VAT registration from the State’s Sales Tax department. Since, each State has different procedures and fees for VAT registration, it is hard for businesses operating in multiple States to obtain and maintain compliance with VAT regulations.
With the implementation of GST in India, the procedure for GST registration would be centralized and standardized similar to service tax registration. Under GST regime, business would no longer have to obtain multiple VAT registration – as a single GST registration would be applicable across India.
Currently, VAT registration and VAT payment is mandatory once a business crosses an annual turnover of Rs.5 lakhs in some States and Rs.10 lakhs in a few other States. The multiple VAT legislation enacted by each State creates confusion and complexities. Once GST is implemented, businesses with a turnover of less than Rs.10 lakhs per annum would not have to register for GST nor collect GST. Further, businesses with an annual sales turnover of Rs.10 lakhs to Rs.50 lakhs may have to pay GST only at a lower rate. Therefore, once GST is rolled out, thousands of start-ups and small businesses currently having an annual sales turnover of Rs.5 lakh – Rs.10 lakh would be out of the tax net providing relief to them from collection and filing of GST returns.