On June 14, 2016, the Indian Finance Ministry released for stakeholders' comments a draft law to introduce goods and service tax (GST) in the country.
The draft law contains 25 chapters, 162 sections, and four schedules. It includes provisions on the levy and collection of central or state GST, as the case may be, on all intra-state supplies of goods and services at a yet-to-be-specified rate. It also provides details on who is a "taxable person," the registration requirements, the process for claiming input tax credits and refunds, and the process and deadlines for filing tax returns and paying tax.
The draft law also contains, in Chapter XIB, provisions relating to the taxation of digital transactions. Under the draft law, e-commerce operators must collect an appropriate amount of tax at source at the time of crediting any amount to the supplier of the goods or services. The amount would then need to be paid to the Government within ten days from the end of the month in which the collection is made, the law says.
The GST is the most significant economic reform before Parliament but it remains bogged down in the upper house, the Rajya Sabha, with the Congress Party standing in the way of the passage of the Bill required to allow states to levy GST on services.
Under the GST proposals, the various elements of the existing indirect tax regime will be replaced by a comprehensive dual-GST system, with Central GST and State GST to be levied concurrently by the center (federal Government) and the states, respectively.
The country's ruling Government, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has missed its initial April 2016 deadline to introduce the proposed GST after lawmakers failed to adopt the Constitutional Amendment Bill during the winter session of Parliament, which ended in December 2015. The Bill will now be presented in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament, which will begin on July 21.