Government gearing up for GST by 2010

Government gearing up for GST by 2010

New Delhi: The Centre is gearing up for the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the 1 April, 2010 deadline draws closer and is holding regular meetings with the states to make them agree to the proposed tax regime that will do away with most central and state indirect taxes.

Though some states are still apprehensive that GST will do away with their fiscal autonomy, considerable progress has been made in negotiations to allay their concerns.

“We are almost having meetings on a daily basis. To bring all states together and make them agree to GST was a difficult task. Some states had apprehensions. The process has made considerable progress," Central Board of Excise and Customs chairman V. Sridhar said.

He said that many states are protective about their autonomy so far as taxes levied by them is concerned.

After the empowered group of state finance ministers met on GST last week, Madhya Pradesh finance minister had expressed apprehension that the new tax system would take away the states’ rights to tinker with rates.

The GST will subsume the central indirect tax levies like excise and service tax and a host of state taxes like VAT, octroi and purchase tax.

The structure would be a dual structure—one at the centre and the other at the states level.

States have already agreed to have two rates of taxes, with one standard rate and the other lower rate for essential goods. The rates, however, have yet not been finalised.

The government has set a deadline of 1 April, 2010, to introduce GST.