The GST bill is expected to have wide ranging ramifications for the complicated taxation system in the country. It is likely to improve the country’s tax to GDP ratio and also inhibit inflation. However, the reform is likely to benefit the manufacturing sector but may make things difficult for the services sector.
Though there are expectations that the GDP growth is likely to go up by 1 to 2 %, the results can only be analysed after the GST implementation. The response is mixed from countries around the world. While the New Zealand economy had a higher GDP growth, it was lower in case of Canada, Australia and Thailand after the GST was implemented.
The one per cent tax that has been proposed as a sop to appease the States for compensating their loss of revenue from the inter-state CST is likely to play a spoil sport. It is probable that it may affect the GDP adversely. The Congress is already opposing the 1 per cent tax.
The GS Tax rate is expected to be around 17-18% and can be assumed as a tax neutral rate. This tax rate is not likely to give any incremental tax revenue to the government. The rate will prove beneficial for the manufacturing sector where the tax rate is around 24% at present. The major manufacturing sectors that will benefit the most are FMCG, Auto and Cement. This is because they are currently reeling under 24 to 38 per cent tax.
The sector which is going to be adversely affected is the services sector. Already there has been a hike from 12 to 14% from the 1st of June this year. Another 4 per cent increase will break their backs. The uniformity in the taxation rate is fine but it should not result in disparity for the goods and services sectors. Nobody has thought of the implications it will have in the services sector if the government moots a higher GS Tax rate like 20% or 24%.
The higher GST rate will definitely boost the tax to GDP ratio, while giving financial muscle to the government for increasing the capital expenditure. This is likely to spur growth in the economy.
There is definitely a silver lining to the whole exercise. The unorganised sector which enjoys the cost advantage equal to the taxation rate can be brought under the GST bill. This will bring a lot of unorganized players in the fields like electrical, paints, hardware etc. under the tax net. It is easier said than done. It will take a lot of meticulous planning in the implementation of the GST reform for capturing the unorganized sector under its ambit. For one it will widen the tax reach and secondly it will benefit the organized players who lose out revenue to the unorganized sector at present.
As you can see that there are still a lot of unchartered territories which need to be looked into through parliamentary discussions in the sessions. This will bring sanctity to the taxation system without hurting any of the sectors adversely.