What is the Meaning of Indirect Taxes?
Indirect tax is a type of tax collected by the government from an intermediary such as manufacturer or retailer. The eventual burden of the tax falls on to consumers who buy goods and services from the intermediary, as the intermediary applies indirect taxes on the product in the form of Value Added Tax (VAT), service tax, sales tax etc.
Indirect taxes are called so because they are collected indirectly from consumers by the government through intermediaries, who are the first payers of the tax to the government. These taxes are different from direct taxes such as income tax which is collected directly from taxpayers. Indirect taxes include taxes such as sales tax, service, tax, VAT etc. whereas income tax, wealth tax, corporation tax etc. fall under the ambit of direct taxes.
Unlike direct taxes, indirect taxes are levied on goods and services rather than individuals. Individuals pay the taxes indirectly in the form of higher prices on their purchases. A retailer selling a product to you has already levied indirect taxes on the product, which is then passed on to the relevant tax-collection authorities.
Indirect Tax in India:
There are a number of indirect taxes applied by the government. Taxes are levied on import, manufacture, sale and even purchases of goods and services. These laws aren’t also well-defined in terms of Acts from the government, rather orders, circulars and notifications are given out by relevant government bodies to this end. As such, it can be cumbersome trying to understand every feature of indirect taxes in India.
Indirect taxes are touted to be streamlined following the introduction of the uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST). The GST is under deliberation in the parliament and may be approved by mid-2016. The points below will help you understand more about the types of indirect taxes and where they are applicable from a consumer’s perspective.
Features of Indirect Taxes:
- Levied on goods and services sold by an intermediary to final consumers. Consumers than pay the tax in the form of higher price of items.
- Broadly divided into categories such as sale of goods, imported/exported goods, offering of services and manufacture of goods.
- Indirect taxes are levied on clearance of goods and services from the origin, instead of actual sale of the products to the customers. What this means is that the intermediary will pay excise duties irrespective of whether they could sell the good or service to consumers.
- Indirect taxes fall under both the central and state governments according to specific type of indirect tax. For instance, VAT is levied by the state governments whereas CST is levied by the central government.
Types of Indirect Taxes:
Indirect taxes is a broad category under which different kinds of indirect taxes fall. There are 4 basic sub-categories with further sub-divisions according to goods and services.
List of Indirect Taxes or Examples of Indirect Taxes:
- Service tax
- Excise duties
Service tax is applied generally at the rate of 12.36%, which has been revised to 14% from April 2015. This type of indirect tax is levied by the service tax provider and paid by the recipient of the services. However, in some cases the liability for the tax is divided between the recipient as well as the provider of service.
There is also a provision for abatement of service tax if the final price is a mixture of services as well as material, such as restaurant bills. In general, restaurants levy service tax on 40% of the bill amount as 60% of the amount is considered to be cost of materials. Service taxes fall under the ambit of the central government.
The central government collects excise duties on manufacture of goods subject to clearance of the products from warehouse or factory. As such, this tax can be said to apply on clearance of goods from storage rather than being applied on the sale of the manufactured goods. Excise duties are further divided into 4 categories, of which basic excise duty is levied for the most part while the others are levied only in special cases.
- Basic excise duty: This is the most common type of excise duty which is levied on goods manufacturing and falls under the Central Excise Act, 1944. This tax is exempted in special cases such as manufacture of salt or export of manufactured goods of less than Rs.1.5 crores overall value per year, among others. The excise duty rates vary from product to product.
- Special excise duty: Levied on a small list of items and falls under Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985.
- Textile duties: As the name suggests, only applicable on specific textile goods and falls under the Additional Duties of Excise Act, 1978.
- Goods of special importance: This is levied as per the Additional Duties of Excise Act, 1957 on specific goods mentioned under the article.
- National calamity contingent duty (NCCD): This is levied on goods like cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pan masala, mobile phones and crude oil, and is applicable U/S 135 of the Finance Act, 2001.
Imported goods are charged taxes as per excise duties. This is further divides in specific duties and ad-valorem duties.
- Specific duties: These are applicable on all individual components of a good imported into the country, for instance a cloth imported from abroad will be charged excise per meter of the material, or laptops imported will be charged excise on each unit of the order.
- Ad-valorem duties: These are levied on the overall value of goods exported or imported. For instance, 10% of the overall bill of imported clothes or 10% of the overall order value for laptops.
- Anti-dumping duties: These are levied so as to shield the domestic market against foreign goods dumped at very low or below cost prices. For instance, plastic products imported from China, which can be cheaper than the domestic market rates.
- Countervailing Duty of Customs: This is another type of excise duty used to help Indian produced goods sell on a level playing field. This is additional to the ad-valorem or specific duties already applied on goods.
Finally, goods sold directly to consumers are levied Value Added Taxes (VAT), which is collected by the respective state government on intra-state sales, as well as Central Sales Tax, which is collected by the central government on inter-state sales. Every state levies its own VAT figure, which usually lies between 5% and 12.5%. There may be some exceptions to this tax as per state laws.
Apart from all the types of indirect taxes discussed above, Octroi or Local Body Taxes (LBT) are also applicable as per local rules and regulations.
News About Indirect Tax
Indirect tax collection rises 28%, direct tax increases 15%
The government reported a healthy growth in tax collections in the first five months of financial year 2016-17, with direct tax mop up increasing by 15% and indirect tax collection rising by 27.5%. The gross PIT collected was 24% higher, while CIT collections rose by 11.5%.
The finance ministry indicated that refunds worth Rs. 77,080 crore were furnished during the 5 month interval between April and August, this year, and it is 22.2% higher than the refunds issued during the same interval last year. The mop up of Rs. 1.89 lakh crore from direct taxes constituted 22% of the budget estimates for this fiscal.
However, the indirect tax collections that are inclusive of central excise, service tax and customs was more striking, with a collection of Rs. 3.36 lakh crore, constituting 43% of the budget estimate. Net service tax collections increased by 23% to stand at Rs. 92,696 crore and customs duty is 5.7% higher at Rs. 90,448 crore.
The increase in net tax collections was attributed to healthy domestic manufacturing figures that shadowed the declining industrial production numbers.
13th September 2016
CBEC issues circular to officials on indirect tax recovery
The CBEC (Central Board of Excise & Customs) has issued a circular to its officials with regard to recovery of a confirmed demand if there is a stay application pending. It has asked the field officials not to go ahead with recovery in such cases.
This circular has brought in that much needed relief to the industry where cases have been pending. It must be noted that the government had amended the rules in August 2014 offering a fixed payment of 7.5% or 10% of the tax demand. It is now clear that the officials cannot go ahead with the recovery after assessee has made an appeal to the tribunal after making the required payment. This process change has been implemented to provide sufficient time to the assessee to file an appeal.
4th August 2016
Indirect Tax Collections Rise By 41%
Indirect Tax collections shot up by 41 per cent during April 2016 on the back of a major rise in excise collections. Collections to the tune of Rs 64,394 crore were recorded in the same month, showing an increase by 17 per cent after the exclusion of collections via additional resource mobilisation measures. Central excise collections also showed a sharp upturn, rising by 70 per cent to Rs 28,252 crore in comparison to Rs 16,546 crore in April last year. A tweet by Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia stated that provisional revenue figures for indirect tax showed a 41% growth in April 2016 as compared to revenue figures during the same time last year. Customs collections for April 2016 also saw a 22 per cent rise from Rs 14,286 crore last year to Rs 17,495 crore, while service tax collections witnessed an increase of 27 per cent, shooting up from Rs 14,585 crore last year to Rs 18,647 crore this April. However, no details on direct tax collections were forthcoming.
7th June 2016
Raised monetary limits for appeals in Indirect Tax cases
Central Board of Excise and Customs has raised limits for appeals made in case of indirect taxes. In appellate tribunals the limit is now Rs.10 lakhs and it is Rs. 15 lakhs for high courts. The earlier limits were Rs.5 lakhs and Rs.10 lakhs. Detailed information about the issuance of Show Cause Notice have been rolled out by the department.
CBED is also organizing workshops and various sessions to strengthen the quality of SCNs issued. This is also in order to minimize dispute as well as litigation.
27th April 2015