Healthcare, education exempted from GST

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has exempted healthcare and education from the tax, which is scheduled to kick-start from July 1. The tax rate on gold has not been finalised yet. The Council will meet again on June 3.

While the cinema entertainment tax has been fixed at 28%, 18% tax will be levied on mobile and financial services.

Most services exempted from the tax will continue to be exempted under the GST.

Travelling on the metro and local train will be exempted. Also on the exemption list is religious travel like Haj.

The Council agreed on the fitment of almost all commodities in the various tax slabs under the new indirect regime.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is an indirect taxation in India merging most of the existing into single system of taxation.

It was introduced as The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act 2016, following the passage of Constitution 122nd Amendment Bill.

The GST is governed by GST Council and its Chairman is Union Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley.

GST is a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India (Except state of Jammu and Kashmir) , to replace taxes levied by the central and state governments.

This method allows GST-registered businesses to claim tax credit to the value of GST they paid on purchase of goods or services as part of their normal commercial activity. Administrative responsibility would generally rest with a single authority to levy tax on goods and services.

Exports would be considered as zero-rated supply and imports would be levied the same taxes as domestic goods and services adhering to the destination principle in addition to the Customs Duty which will not be subsumed in the GST.

Introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a significant step in the reform of indirect taxation in India.

Amalgamating several Central and State taxes into a single tax would mitigate cascading or double taxation, facilitating a common national market.

The simplicity of the tax should lead to easier administration and enforcement.

From the consumer point of view, the biggest advantage would be in terms of a reduction in the overall tax burden on goods, which is currently estimated at 25%-30%, free movement of goods from one state to another without stopping at state borders for hours for payment of state tax or entry tax and reduction in paperwork to a large extent.

GST is expected to be applicable from 1 July 2017.

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