GST – Analysis and Opinions
GST has brought in ‘one nation one tax’ system, but its effect on various industries is slightly different. The first level of differentiation will come in depending on whether the industry deals with manufacturing, distributing and retailing or is providing a service.
Impact of GST on Manufacturers, Distributor, and Retailers
GST is a boost competitiveness and performance in India’s manufacturing sector. Declining exports and high infrastructure spending are just some of the concerns of this sector. Multiple indirect taxes had also increased the administrative costs for manufacturers and distributors and with GST in place, the compliance burden has eased and this sector will grow more strongly.
But due to GST business which was not under the tax bracket previously will now have to register. This will lead to lesser tax evasion.
Impact of GST on Service Providers
As of March 2014, there were 12, 76,861 service tax assessees in the country out of which only the top 50 paid more than 50% of the tax collected nationwide. Most of the tax burden is borne by domains such as IT services, telecommunication services, the Insurance industry, business support services, Banking and Financial services, etc. These pan-India businesses already work in a unified market, and will see compliance burden becoming lesser. But they will have to separately register every place of business in each state.
Sector-wise Impact Analysis
In a vast country like India, the logistics sector forms the backbone of the economy. We can fairly assume that a well organized and mature logistics industry has the potential to leapfrog the “Make In India” initiative of the Government of India to its desired position.
The e-commerce sector in India has been growing by leaps and bounds. In many ways, GST will help the e-com sector’s continued growth but the long-term effects will be particularly interesting because the GST law specifically proposes a Tax Collection at Source (TCS) mechanism, which e-com companies are not too happy with. The current rate of TCS is at 1%.
On the whole, GST is benefiting the pharma and healthcare industries. It will create a level playing field for generic drug makers, boost medical tourism and simplify the tax structure. If there is any concern whatsoever, then it relates to the pricing structure (as per latest news). The pharma sector is hoping for a tax respite as it will make affordable healthcare easier to access by all.
In the telecom sector, prices will come down after GST. Manufacturers will save on costs through efficient management of inventory and by consolidating their warehouses. Handset manufacturers will find it easier to sell their equipment as GST has negated the need to set up state-specific entities, and transfer stocks. The will also save up on logistics costs.
The Indian textile industry provides employment to a large number of skilled and unskilled workers in the country. It contributes about 10% of the total annual export, and this value is likely to increase under GST. GST would affect the cotton value chain of the textile industry which is chosen by most small medium enterprises as it previouslu attracted zero central excise duty (under optional route).
The real estate sector is one of the most pivotal sectors of the Indian economy, playing an important role in employment generation in India. The impact of GST on the real estate sector cannot be fully assessed as it largely depends on the tax rates. However, the sector will see substantial benefits from GST implementation, as it has brought to the industry much-required transparency and accountability.
The agricultural sector is the largest contributing sector the overall Indian GDP. It covers around 16% of Indian GDP. One of the major issues faced by the agricultural sector is the transportation of agri-products across state lines all over India. GST will resolve the issue of transportation.
The FMCG sector is experiencing significant savings in logistics and distribution costs as the GST has eliminated the need for multiple sales depots.
Freelancing in India is still a nascent industry and the rules and regulations for this chaotic industry are still up in the air. But with GST, it will become much easier for freelancers to file their taxes as they can easily do it online. They are taxed as service providers, and the new tax structure has brought about coherence and accountability in this sector.
The automobile industry in India is a vast business producing a large number of cars annually, fueled mostly by the huge population of the country. Under the previous tax system, there were several taxes applicable on this sector like excise, VAT, sales tax, road tax, motor vehicle tax, registration duty which will be subsumed by GST.
With increased limits for registration, a DIY compliance model, tax credit on purchases, and a free flow of goods and services, the GST regime truly augurs well for the Indian startup scene. Previously, many Indian states had different VAT laws which were confusing for companies that have a pan-India presence, especially the e-com sector. All of this has changed under GST.