Two years of GST: Road ahead for one nation, one tax

The landmark goods and services tax (GST), launched on July 1, 2017, has completed two years. The one-nation, one-tax revolution has seen a few hiccups, but it’s settling down and benefits should start to flow sooner rather than later. ET looks at what lies ahead

1.Revenues rising despite rate cuts

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2.Successful template for centre-state cooperation

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* GST Council arrangement has worked well

*Most decisions have been unanimous

*Centre has taken the states along in ironing out issues

*Council has proactively addressed issues as they arose

3.Gains beginning to show up

*Logistics costs down as cargo moving faster across state borders

*Indirect tax compliance costs have fallen

*Paying taxes has become easier with a single tax

*Companies starting to plan without worrying about state boundaries

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4.Bring remaining sectors under GST

*Electricity

*Alcohol

*Petroleum products

5.Reduce the number of rate slabs

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6.Simplify procedures

*Filing system remains cumbersome

*Online filing of receipts and aggregation by system should help

*Solve issues over administration of GST

7.Measures to lift revenues

*Steps needed to curb evasion

*Invoice-to-invoice matching and reversing charge

*Reach out to non filers

THE LONG WINDING ROAD

A) Frequent changes

* GST Council has met 35 times since inception

* Many changes in two years

* Multiple revisions in rules

B) Cumbersome compliance

* Return filing remains challenging

* Vendor reconciliation is another headache

* Multiple registration for service providers

* Jurisdiction divided between states and Centre

C) Export refunds and input tax credit

* Exporters still struggling with refunds

* Input tax credit remains a niggle in many cases

D) To profit or not

* No clear guidelines on anti-profiteering

*Complaints not restricted to affected consumers

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