GST - Goods and Services Tax in India

GST is basically a multi-stage tax system which is comprehensive in nature and is levied on the supply of goods and services. The main aim of this taxation system is to curb the cascading effect of other indirect taxes. GST stands for Goods and Services Tax.

Latest GST Update: The Government has now extended the deadline for the filing annual goods and service tax (GST) return. The date for the reconciliation statements for FY20 is now 31st March, 2021. The earlier date was 28th February.

Table of Contents

What is GST in India?

Goods and Services Tax or GST is an indirect tax which was introduced in India with the aim of replacing a host of other indirect taxes such as value added tax (VAT), service tax, excise duty, and so on. The GST Act was passed on March 29th, 2017 and was implemented on July 1st, 2017.

GST Rates

The GST Council has assignedGST rates to different goods and services. While some products can be purchased without any GST, there are others that come at 5% GST, 12% GST, 18% GST, and 28% GST. GST rates for goods and services have been changed a few time since the new tax regime was implemented in July 2017. The last GST council meeting was held in February this year and was chaired by then Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley.

Name of Item Applicable GST Rate
Mobile Phone 18%
Sanitizer 18%
Gold 3%
Steel 18%

GST Registration through GST Portal

Mentioned below are the steps for GST Registration procedure through the official GST portal for taxpayers:

GST Returns

A GST Returns is basically a document that contains information regarding the income that a taxpayer must file with the authorities. This information is used to compute the taxpayer’s tax liability. Under the Goods and Services Tax, registered dealers must file their GST returns with details regarding their purchases, sales, input tax credit and output GST. Businesses are expected to file 2 monthly returns as well as an annual return.

GST Calculator

Calculating the amount that needs to be paid as GST when filing your returns can be quite tedious. A number of aspects and factors must be taken into consideration, such as ITC, exempted supplies, reverse charge, etc. Failure to pay the entire GST amount can see you slapped with an 18% interest on the shortfall, thereby making it necessary to ensure that you pay the right amount towards GST.

The GST Calculator makes it relatively simple for taxpayers to calculate the amount that needs to be paid as GST. You will have to enter all the required details such as the month for which you are calculating GST, the due date for filing returns for the particular month, the actual date on which the returns are filed, the tax liability for the month, the purchases that attract Reverse Charge Mechanism, the opening balance of your cash ledger as well as your credit ledger and the eligible ITC.

Here is an example showing how you can calculate your GST liability:

Particulars Amount
Overall value of interstate sales Rs.20 lakh
Overall value of intrastate sales Rs.25 lakh
Advance received Rs.8 lakh
SGST Rs.25 lakh x 9% = Rs.2.25 lakh
CGST Rs.25 lakh x 9% = Rs.2.25 lakh
IGST Rs.20 lakh x 18% = Rs.3.6 lakh Rs.8 lakh x 18% = Rs.1.44 lakh Total = Rs.5.04 lakh

GST Certificate

A GST Certificate is an official document which is issued by the concerned authorities for a business which has been enrolled under the GST system. Any business with an annual turnover of Rs.20 lakh or more and certain special businesses are required to be registered under this system. The GST registration certificate is issued in Form GST REG-06. If you are a registered taxpayer under this system, you can download the GST Certificate from the official GST Portal. The certificate is not issued physically. It is available in digital format only. GST Certificate contains GSTIN, Legal Name, Trade Name, Constitution of Business, Address, Date of liability, Period of Validity, Types of Registration, Particulars of Approving Authority, Signature, Details of the Approving GST officer and Date of issue of certificate.

Types of GST

Based on the kind of transaction, there are four types of GST, viz. Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST), State Goods and Services Tax (SGST), Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST), and Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (UTGST).

Benefits of GST

The following are the benefits of the Goods and Services Tax:

Tax Laws Before the Implementation of GST

The main of implementing the GST was to implement a much simpler tax structure in the country. The concept of Goods and Services Tax was to implement the concept of one tax across all parts of the country.

There was a lot of speculation at the time of implementation as some of the previous tax systems did not work out as well as it was anticipated. Listed below are some of the important difference between GST and tax system that was followed prior to the implementation of GST:

History of GST in India

The Goods and Services Tax was implemented in India on July 1, 2017. However, the process of implementing the new tax regime commenced a long time ago. In 2000, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister of India, set up a committee to draft the GST law. In 2004, a task force came to the conclusion that the new tax structure should be implemented to enhance the tax regime at the time.

In 2006, P. Chidambaram, Former Finance Minister of India, proposed the introduction of GST on 1st April 2010 and the Constitution Amendment Bill was passed in 2011 to enable the introduction of the GST law. In 2012, the Standing Committee started discussions regarding GST, and tabled its report on GST a year later. In 2014, the new Finance Minister at the time, Arun Jaitley, reintroduced the GST Bill in Parliament, and the bill was passed in Lok Sabha in 2015. However, the implementation of the law was delayed as it was not passed in Rajya Sabha.

GSTN went live in 2016, and the amended model GST law was passed in both the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha. The President of India also gave assent to the law in 2016. In 2017 the passing of 4 supplementary GST Bills in Lok Sabha as well as the approval of the same by the Cabinet. Rajya Sabha then passed 4 supplementary GST Bills and the new tax regime was implemented on 1st July 2017.

What is GST Number (GSTN)?

The GSTN or Goods and Services Tax Network is responsible for managing the IT system in regard to the GST Portal. It is a non-profit, non-government organisation and is the database for the official GST Portal.

The current structure of the GST Network can be summed up as follows:

Features of GSTN

The salient features of the GST Network can be listed as follows:

Functions of GSTN

The main functions of the GST Network or GSTN can be summed up as follows:

GST Helpline

Taxpayers who have any confusions or doubts in regard to their GST filing can get in touch with the concerned authority through the GST Helpline. Earlier, taxpayers could get in touch through the helpdesk email ID – helpdesk@gst.gov.in. However, it should be noted that this email ID has been discontinued.

The GST Helpline details are as follows:

Toll Free Phone Number 1800 1200 232
Self Help Portal https://selfservice.gstsystem.in/

GST App

There are a handful of GST applications which have been designed to run on smartphones. Out of all the apps, there is a Government-issued application as well which is called the CBEC GST. It can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for your Android smartphone.

In addition to that, there are a host of third-party applications as well. The main aim of these applications is to help taxpayers familiarise themselves with the idea of GST and in turn, ensure that they smoothly transit to the new taxation system.

GST FAQs

  1. Is it necessary for all traders to register under the GST?
  2. All traders who earn turnovers in excess of Rs.20 lakh in a financial year will have to register under the Goods and Services Tax.

  3. Do small traders have a separate scheme to pay taxes?
  4. Yes, small traders can make the most of the composition levy in case their turnover is less than Rs.75 lakh. For certain special states, this limit is Rs.50 lakh.

  5. What are the states with a turnover limit at Rs.50 lakh for composition levy?
  6. Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Mizoram.

  7. What is the composition levy tax rate?
  8. The rate of tax applicable under the composition levy is 1% of the turnover earned in the state, with 0.5% going towards Central Goods and Services Tax and 0.5% going towards State Goods and Services Tax.

  9. Who is not eligible for the composition scheme?
    • Establishment that supply services, apart from restaurants.
    • Those involved with making inter-state outward supplies of products.
    • Those involved in making supply of products that are not chargeable to GST.
    • Suppliers who make supply of products via e-commerce operators and are mandated to collect tax at source.

Top News Stories On GST

  • No notice from the finance department regarding payment of maximum GST liability in cash

    In the latest development, the Finance Ministry of India had stated that there were no instructions given to officials regarding the payment of maximum GST liability in cash. This was given as a response to previous reports where GST officers were using phone calls, WhatsApp and messaging services asking many taxpayers to pay the maximum tax liability in cash.

    According to reports, the GST officers were trying to ensure that that their GST revenue collection targets were met for the FY. In the latest statement issued by the Finance Department, the government or the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs have not given any instruction of the sort.

    GST taxpayers will be able to use the Input Tax Credit in their credit ledger to pay off their GST dues for March, as per the notification sent by the Finance Ministry.

    22 March 2021

  • E-invoicing under GST regime to become mandatory for entities with a turnover of Rs.50 crore or more

    The government on Monday in a notification stated that e-invoicing under the goods and services tax (GST) regime will become mandatory for entities with a turnover of Rs.50 crore and more from April 1. This will be the third phase of e-invoicing roll out. The government had rolled it out for entities with Rs.500 crore and more turnover from October 1 last year and later extended to entities with Rs.100 crore and above from January 1 this year. It needs to be mentioned here that the government had earlier planned to extend e-invoicing to all entities from 1 April 2021 but it has refrained from doing so after taking into consideration small entities.

    The system is aimed at bringing in more transparency in sales reporting, minimising errors, automating data entry work, and improving compliance. It will also help in preventing tax evasion. Under e-invoicing, companies have to generate an invoice registration number (IRN) from a government portal and shown to the authorities while moving goods.

    10 March 2021

  • GST collection for the month of February stands at Rs.1.13 lakh crore

    According to a data released by the Finance Ministry of India, the total GST collected during the month of February stood at Rs.1.13 lakh crore.

    This is the fifth straight month when the total GST collected has exceeded Rs.1 lakh crore. Comparatively, the total GST collection for the month of February 2021 as compared to the numbers observed for the same month last year saw a growth of 7%.

    The ministry of finance said that the growth in GST collection clearly indicated that the economy is slowly recovering due to the various measures taken by the tax authorities.

    02 March 2021

  • January 2021 GST collections reach all-time high

    The Goods and service tax (GST) collections for January 2021 had reached Rs.1.19 lakh crore since the launch of the GST regime. The GST revenues in January was the highest after the introduction of GST and reached around Rs.1.2 lakh crore mark. This had been more than last month’s record collection of Rs.1.15 lakh crore. The consistent collections of more than Rs.1 lakh crore for the last couple of months and the increasing trend over January had been indicators of teh fast economic recovery after the pandemic.

    02 February 2021

  • Flexibility will be provided to the GST taxpayers on the monthly tax payments

    A new scheme called the Quarterly Return and Monthly Payment Scheme or QRMP will be introduced by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to benefit all the Goods and Services Tax (GST) taxpayers.

    Under the new scheme, the GST taxpayers will no longer be required to file 12 returns through form GSTR- 3B. Instead, they will be required to file just 4 returns annually. To be put into effect from 1 January 2021, the new method will allow taxpayers to pay their taxes under self assessment format once every quarter instead of doing it on a monthly basis.

    18 December 2020

  • 21 states choose ‘borrow’ option to avoid GST dues

    21 states in India have now chosen the ‘borrowing option’ which had been proposed by the goods and services tax council. This was done for meeting the shortfall in compensation from the centre amidst the pandemic and the lockdown. The 21 states had chosen ‘option 1’, which will allow them to borrow tax collection shortfall, estimated at Rs.97,000 crore.

    Option 2 allows the states to borrow a compensation of Rs. 2.35 lakh crore. If the other states fail to decide their choices before the next meeting of the GST Council (5 October), then they should wait till June, 2022 for getting the dues. This will be on the condition that the GST Council will extend the collection period of cess over 2022.

    21 September 2020

  • GST E-invoicing is now compulsory from Oct 1

    The government has proposed to roll out mandatory GST e-invoicing from 1 October. However, they have made a decision to increase the threshold for exempting a few smaller entities from the compliance. The e-invoicing will be mandatory for businesses which have a turnover of around Rs.500 crore and more.

    25 July 2020

  • GST of 18% levied on all alcohol-based hand sanitizers

    There will soon be a GST of 18% levied on all alcohol-based hand sanitizers, according to the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR). The Springfield India Distilleries had spoken to the Goa-bench of AAR and had asked fir classification of hand sanitizers and had also contended that this product would be taxed at 12%.

    20 July 2020

  • GST collections for June reach Rs.90,917 crore

    The GST (Goods and service tax) collections for the month of June has been reported to be clocked Rs.90,917 crore at gross levels. This is around 9% lower than the month of June last year. The collections however, are higher than the ones recorded in the month of April and the month of May. April had clocked a GST collection of Rs.32,294 crore and May’s GST collection stood at Rs.62,009 crore.

    06 July 2020

  • No interest payments on GST for small taxpayers

    All small taxpayers who have an aggregate turnover of around Rs.5 crore will now get a waiver of their late fees and also their interest, if these taxpayers file form GSTR-3B for all supplies that have been affected during May, June and July. This should be done by September 2020. These taxpayers will also not have to bear the burden of paying an interest for late furnishing of their GST returns right until 6 July. The interest rates have now been reduced to 9% and this will stay 30 till September.

    12 June 2020

  • GSTN now allows new registration functionality for all insolvency resolution professionals

    The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) had announced that they have now enabled a new registration functionality on the portal of GST for registered firms which are now debtors under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

    The new facility was launched to benefit all entities which are going through a corporate insolvency resolution process and their management have now been undertaken by resolution professionals (RPs) or interim resolution professionals (IRPs).

    In order to make use of the new functionality, the IRP/RP will have to select the reason for getting the new registration as “corporate debtor undergoing the corporate insolvency resolution process by IRP/RP”. This should be done while they are applying for the registration on the official portal. The CBIC in March had said that all corporate debtors will be liable to avail the new registration via RP or IRP.

    The IRP/RPs will have to apply for the registration on behalf of the debtors within by 1 June 2020, or 30 days from the appointment whichever is later. The corporate debtor will have to furnish the GST returns, and also make payment of tax. They must also meet other GST compliances. These debtors will be treated as a distinct person and will be liable to take up this new registration via IRP/RP.

    03 June 2020

  • Central Board of Indirect Taxes clears Rs 10,700 crore GST, customs duty refund in 16 days

    Close to Rs.10,700 crore worth refunds in GST and custom duty between April 8 to April 23 has been cleared by The Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIC). In the 'Special Refund and Drawback Disposal Drive', the CBIC officers have cleared over 1.07 lakh Goods and Services Tax and IGST refund claims worth Rs 9,818.12 crore.

    The Finance Ministry had on April 8 said it will issue all pending GST and custom refunds in order to provide relief during COVID-19. The move will benefit around 1 lakh business entities, including MSME.

    The total refund granted will be approximately Rs 18,000 crore, it had said.

    The CBIC had earlier asked its field officers to not ask for physical submission of documents from entities who are claiming GST and customs refunds and instead use official email for all communication purposes.

    28 April 2020

  • Government planning a GST relief package for worst-hit sectors

    The government of India, according to reports, is considering a GST relief package to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on the country’s economy and help it recover. The package may include a six-month suspension of GST payments for the sectors which were the worst hit in this crisis such as the food and beverage industry, hospitality along with the aviation industry. The package will also include a lower rate of GST for the real-estate sector which also suffered.

    There have been other proposals which include switching to a cash-based principle of levying tax instead of the current invoice-based system. Along with this, providing GST relief on sales for which the payment has not been received due to the lockdown and treating them as bad debts have also been considered.

    The measures which could be included in the package will be expected to ease the pressure of liquidity on the businesses which are struggling for money. The final decision on the various proposals will be taken by the GST council. There has been a demand for the complete exemption of tax, however, the government is inclined towards suspending tax as it can work better.

    27 April 2020

  • Govt. will release all GST and customs refund

    The government on Wednesday stated that it will release all GST and Customs refunds in a bid to provide relief to businesses hit by the COVID - 19 pandemic. The move is expected to benefit around 1 lakh business entities including MSMEs. As per the statement, the total refund granted will be approximately Rs.18,000 crore. The government also stated that it would provide immediate relief to the business entities and individuals by releasing all pending income-tax refunds up to Rs.5 lakh immediately.

    It must be noted here that the government on March 24 had extended the filing of return for the month of March, April and May 2020 and composition returns under GST till June 30. The Union Finance minister also stated that companies which have less than Rs.5 crore turnover will not have to pay interest, late fee or penalty while bigger companies will need to pay only the interest at a reduced rate of 9%.

    17 April 2020

  • Prices of mobile phones may rise by 10% due to an increase in GST

    Mobile phone manufacturers who are looking at a 6% GST increase from 1 April 2020 will hardly be given any relief even though the government gave an extension for the filing of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) returns.

    According to a senior accountant, even though mobile manufacturers may be given relief as far as the date is concerned, they will be charged 18% GST from April. According to industry experts, mobile manufacturers will not be provided any relief until there is a rollback of the GST hike. According to several experts, mobile phone prices may increase by up to 10% as various smartphone brands may not be able to absolve the economic slowdown and the lockdown due to the coronavirus is affecting their demand and supply. On 24 March 2020, the Finance Minister announced that there could be a delay in the TDS deposit and the penalty is reduced to 9%. According to the President of the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA), Arvinder Khurana, the government should consider rolling back the GST hike, as sales have dropped. He further added that the sales have dropped by 50% in March and may not increase in the coming months due to the lockdown.

    26 March 2020

  • Change in GST filing dates and indirect tax settlement dates of Sabka Vishwas Scheme

    The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has announced an extension in the deadline of filing GST returns in view of the lockdown in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. The last date for the filing of GST returns for March, April, and May is now 30 June 2020. Although staggered dates will be announced later, all of these will be in the last week of June. Companies having less than Rs.5 crore turnover will not have to pay late fee, interest, or penalty. Companies having more than Rs.5 crore turnover will have to pay interest of 9%. The date for settlement of disputes under the indirect tax regime has also been extended to 30 June 2020. This is called the Sabka Vishwas Scheme.

    26 March 2020

  • GST collection for the month of February up by 8%

    Rs.1.05 lakh crore has been collected by the government as GST revenue for the month of February. GST collection has seen an 8% increase when compared to the same time last year.

    However, the GST collection for the month of February has reduced when compared to January. The collection of GST revenue for the month of January was at Rs.1.10 lakh crore. According to the Finance Ministry, the gross GST revenue that has been collected for the month of January is at Rs.1,05,366 crore. The number of GSTR 3B returns that have been filed from the month of January till 29 February 2020 is at 83 lakh. Rs.22,586 crore and Rs.16,553 crore have been settled by the government towards CGST and IGST. The GST revenue for domestic transactions for the month of February has increased by 12% when compared to the same time last year. However, GST import on goods has seen a 2% fall when compared to the same time last year.

    02 March 2020

  • Interest generated from GST late payments will be calculated on net tax liability

    According to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the interest that must be paid due to late payment of GST will be calculated on the next tax liability from now on. The CBIC further said that the laws are being amended so that the new rules can be brought forward.

    Regarding the Rs.46,000 crore that the government looks to recover in unpaid interest, the CBIC said that the state and central governments have amended the GST Acts, so the interest is collected on the net tax liability. Currently, the interest is calculated on the gross tax liability. Businesses, apart from those under the composition scheme, that are registered under GST, must file their returns by the 11th of every month and pay their taxes by the 20th of every month. There have been many cases where taxes have been paid after the due date, but no interest has been paid. However, there have been various doubts about whether the interest will be calculated on the net tax liability or gross tax liability. The CBIC has said that the interest that must be paid can be done via cash or income tax credit

    18 Feb 2020

  • Rs.46,000 crore to be raised by the Centre as interest for GST late payment

    A new revenue stream has been discovered by the government so that the shortfall in the GST collection can be made up. The government is aiming to collect Rs.46,000 crore as interest due to late payment of GST.

    However, the number has been disputed by tax experts as the government had promised taxpayers that the interest and penalties would be waived-off under the new indirect tax regime. According to various tax experts, the government is looking into various harsh measures to improve its tax kitty. The move to charge interest could face challenges from taxpayers. According to the letter sent by the Special Secretary and Member of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, A.K. Pandey, to all central tax commissioners and principal chief commissioners, taxpayers who have delayed their tax payments are liable to pay interest. As per the letter that is dated on 1 February 2020, the GSTIN wise list of the registered individuals who have not paid interest while filing the GSTR 3B returns has been mentioned. The report also states that Rs.45,996 crore has not been paid to the government as interest. According to a senior GST officer, they have received the letter. However, there are reservations in regard to the amount of interest that has to be paid.

    17 Feb 2020

  • Data analytics is used to plug loopholes in the GST system

    On 8 February 2020, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the Central Government is using technology to ensure that the loopholes in the Good and Service Tax (GST) are plugged.

    The government is looking to ensure an 8% growth rate. She further added that complaints can be made by Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in case loans are rejected by banks without a reason being provided. According to the Finance Minister, the GST collection over the last three months has been more than Rs.1 lakh crore. She further added that the revenue has not been increasing due to the loopholes present in the system. According to the Revenue Secretary, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, GST collection for November, December, and January were at Rs.1,04,000 crore, Rs.1,03,000 crore, and Rs.1,11,000 crore, respectively. The Revenue Secretary further added that various steps are being taken by the government to check where the taxes have not been paid. He further added that in case the tax due difference is huge, tax officials and taxpayers are notified of the same. The government will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to check these details as well.

    11 Feb 2020

  • Collection of GST crosses Rs.1.1 lakh crore in the month of January

    Due to the plugging of evasion and improved compliance, GST collections for the month of January crossed the Rs.1 lakh crore mark for the third consecutive month.

    According to various sources, the provisional numbers have quoted that the GST revenue for the month of January was at Rs.1.1 lakh crore. The GST collection meets the target that was set by Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the Revenue Secretary, with senior tax officials earlier in January. The GST collection for the month of December is at Rs.1.03 lakh crore. According to the provisional numbers, the domestic GST collection saw a growth of 11.5%. The growth in IGST has seen a 6% growth. Until 30 January 2020, the GSTR 3B is at 82.8 lakh. In January, the target set by the government for GST revenue for the remainder of the fiscal year is Rs.1.1 lakh crore. The government has also requested taxmen to step up their efforts in order to achieve this goal. Over 40,000 companies have been notified by the government for availing excess ITC. According to various sources, the focus would be on these taxpayers out of the 1.2 crore GST registrants.

    06 Feb 2020

  • States could face a revenue gap of over Rs.1 lakh crore after withdrawal of GST compensation

    States are staring at a consolidated revenue gap of up to Rs.1.23 lakh crore due to the withdrawal of compensation once the five-year GST transition period ends on 20 June 2022.

    When the GST was implemented on 1 July 2017, the Central Government had promised states that compensation will be provided in case revenue is lost for the duration of five years. The amount of compensation that is provided will be based on an agreed formula. According to a report, the consolidated revenue gap could range between Rs.1,00,700 crore and Rs.1,23,646 crore if it is withdrawn. The release of GST compensation has been discussed between central and state governments because of the shortfall in GST collection. The report further added that the withdrawal of GST compensation will have a major impact on the finances in states such as Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Odisha, and Punjab. Meghalaya, Tripura, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh are some of the minor states where a huge revenue gap is expected. Many states have requested for a GST compensation extension for another three years. The GST Compensation Cess (GSTCC) was launched along with the GST in order to provide compensation to states. The fund is managed by the Union Government.

    23 Jan 2020

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