Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a comprehensive indirect tax system that was implemented in India on July 1, 2017. GST replaced multiple indirect taxes that were previously levied by the central and state governments, making it a single, unified tax system. GST is levied on the supply of goods and services in India and is intended to simplify the tax system and improve compliance. GST is a multi-stage, destination-based tax, which means that the tax is collected at each stage of the supply chain and the tax paid at the earlier stage can be set off against the tax liability at the later stage.
GST tax planning is essential for businesses in India, as it can help reduce overall GST liability and ensure compliance with GST regulations. This post will discuss GST tax rates in India, GST Input Tax Credit, GST compliance and record keeping, and GST planning strategies.
GST Tax Rates in India
There are four GST tax rates in India: 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%. The GST Council, which is made up of representatives from the central and state governments, sets the GST tax rates. The GST tax rate for a particular goods or services is determined based on the nature of the goods or services.
The 5% GST tax rate applies to goods and services that are considered essential, such as food items, agricultural products, and some healthcare products. The 12% GST tax rate applies to goods and services that are considered semi-luxurious, such as smartphones and air conditioners. The 18% GST tax rate applies to goods and services that are considered luxury items, such as cars and premium hotel services. The 28% GST tax rate applies to goods and services that are considered luxury items with a sin tax, such as tobacco products and aerated drinks.
GST Input Tax Credit
GST Input Tax Credit is a mechanism that allows businesses to set off GST paid on inputs (goods and services used in the production of goods or provision of services) against GST liability on output (goods and services supplied by the business). This means that businesses can reduce their overall GST liability by claiming GST Input Tax Credit.
To be eligible for GST Input Tax Credit, businesses must have a valid GST registration and must have paid GST on inputs. GST Input Tax Credit can be claimed on inputs and input services used in the production of goods or provision of services. However, GST Input Tax Credit cannot be claimed on certain items, such as goods and services used for personal consumption or goods and services used for the purpose of construction of immovable property.
GST Compliance and Record Keeping
GST compliance is mandatory for all businesses registered under GST. GST compliance includes filing periodic returns, maintaining accurate records, and paying GST on time. Accurate record keeping is essential for GST tax planning as it helps businesses claim GST Input Tax Credit and avoid penalties for non-compliance.
Businesses must maintain records of all GST invoices, credit and debit notes, and other documents. These records must be kept for six years from filing the GST return. Businesses must also file GST returns regularly, depending on the business’s turnover.
GST Planning Strategies
There are several GST planning strategies that businesses can use to minimize GST liability. Some of these strategies include:
- Maximizing GST Input Tax Credit: By claiming GST Input Tax Credit on inputs and input services, businesses can reduce their overall GST liability.
- Optimizing pricing: Businesses can optimize pricing by considering GST and other indirect taxes when setting prices for goods and services.
- Compliance with GST regulations: Compliance with GST regulations is essential to avoid penalties for non-compliance
- Proper classification of goods and services: Proper classification of goods and services is important to ensure that the correct GST rate is applied. Businesses should be aware of the GST rate for the goods and services they supply and ensure that they are correctly classified.
- Splitting of Invoices: Splitting of invoices is a strategy used by businesses to claim GST Input Tax Credit on inputs and input services that attract a higher GST rate. For example, if a business supplies a good that attracts a 18% GST rate and a service that attracts a 12% GST rate, the business can split the invoice and claim GST Input Tax Credit on the input service at the 12% GST rate.
- Availing Composition Scheme: The composition scheme is an optional scheme for small taxpayers with a turnover of up to Rs. 1.5 crores. Under this scheme, taxpayers pay GST at a lower rate on their turnover and are not eligible to claim GST Input Tax Credit. This scheme helps small businesses with low turnover to comply with GST regulations at a lower cost.
GST tax planning is essential for businesses in India, as it can help reduce overall GST liability and ensure compliance with GST regulations. GST tax rates in India are determined by the GST Council and are based on the nature of the goods or services. GST Input Tax Credit is a mechanism that allows businesses to set off GST paid on inputs against GST liability on output. GST compliance and record keeping are also important for GST tax planning. Businesses can use GST planning strategies such as maximising GST Input Tax Credit, optimising pricing, compliance with GST regulations, properly classifying goods and services, splitting invoices, and availing composition schemes to minimise GST liability. It is always advisable to seek professional advice for GST tax planning as the rules and regulations are complex and subject to change.