In a landmark amendment to the Indian tax regime, India’s upper house or the Rajya Sabha passed the Goods and Services Tax bill which streamlines and simplifies taxes for the entire country. In effect, the GST brings India, a US$2 trillion (£1.5tn) economy with 1.3 billion consumers, into a truly single market. “No country of comparable size and complexity has attempted a tax reform of this scale,” Harishankar Subramanian, of Ernst and Young told the BBC.
The GST bill which had been pending in parliament for a few years, finally got passed allowing companies to regulate their taxes between India’s 29 states better. The new bill will upgrade India’s tax system on par with 21st Century companies needs, enabling Asia’s third largest economy a strong tax regime going forward. It will therefore ensure businesses can expand nationwide. Freight trucks will now be able to move quickly across India, rather than spending hours idling at multiple checkpoints filling in forms and making tax payments when they travel between states.
Additionally, the overall tax rate is expected to come down, from its current rates. News reports peg the GST rate at between 15 percent and 18 percent. “If you add all the taxes together, today this is almost 27-32 percent… With GST coming in say at 18-19 percent zone… that is still a difference of 8 percent to 10 percent. Large part of that will eventually get passed on to the customer,” Ashish Goel, co-founder and CEO of online furniture retailer Urban Ladder, told NDTV Profit.