Much has been talked about the Goods and Services tax (GST) implementation starting next month, its impact on industries and how it will benefit the consumer. Just to reiterate, Goods and Services Tax is one indirect tax reform, which will make the country one unified common market for industries to pay taxes.
It is a single tax on the supply of goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer. Credits of input taxes paid at each stage will be available in the subsequent stage of value addition, which makes GST essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage. The final consumer will thus bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain, with set-off benefits at all the previous stages.
What should the consumer be aware of with regard to GST when he/she goes out to buy products and services?
1) Primarily, the consumer should be aware of what is GST and what are its benefits for him/her as a consumer.
2) Pay only the price mentioned on MRP. Remember, at the central level, all these duties have been subsumed — central excise duty, additional excise duty, service tax, additional customs duty – Countervailing duty and special additional duty of customs. At the state level the state value added tax/sales tax, entertainment tax (other than the tax levied by the local bodies), central sales tax (levied by the Centre and collected by the States), octroi and entry tax, purchase tax, luxury tax, and taxes on lottery, betting and gambling have been absorbed.
3) Not all items are priced low. Be prepared to pay marginally higher than the earlier price for some products. For instance, there is a 3 percent GST on gold which makes the precious metal costlier than earlier.
4) State specific tax rates do not apply. The camera you have set your heart on will cost the same immaterial of which state you decide to buy from.
5) If the shopkeeper/vendor asks you to pay more than the MRP stating that GST has been introduced and prices have gone up, don’t buy that argument. MRP is the only tag that you as a consumer need to be concerned with.
6) Cess will apply: You will have to pay 7 cesses under the GST regime since they pertain to customs or goods which are not covered by it, says PTI. These are education cess on imported goods, secondary and higher education cess on imported goods, cess on crude petroleum oil, additional duty of excise on motor spirit and diesel oil (road cess), special additional duty of excise on motor spirit and NCCD on tobacco and tobacco products and crude petroleum oil.
7) GST has been revised for 66 items. Be aware of these items as and when the prices will be reduced.
8) Wherever a product price is more when rates have decreased, talk to the vendor. Else, register a complain with the anti-profiteering cell of the government. For instance, where rates have gone down but ready goods rate is more. Be aware of the rates hikes and cuts so that you are not cheated.