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- With Rajya Sabha passing the Constitutional amendment bill enabling the country to roll out a uniform Goods and Service Tax, India started the biggest tax reform since Independence.
- The bill approved by the Upper house will replace a raft of different state and local taxes with a single unified value added tax system by turning the country into the world’s biggest single market.
- GST Bill as passed by Rajya Sabha will now head back to Lok Sabha for the ratification of amendments moved in the Upper House,
- Next—the Bill needs to be ratified by a minimum of 15 states in their respective assemblies.
- This will have to be followed by the President’s assent to the legislation to enable the rollout of GST by the intended deadline of April 1, 2017.
- After the Presidential assent, a GST Council with Centre and states as members will be formed within 60 days.
- Council will recommend tax rates, including the band of rates for goods and services.
- Three new laws will have to be passed to give shape to the new tax regime —Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) that need to be cleared by Parliament
- 29 separate State GST legislations (SGST) that will have to be cleared by the respective state assemblies.
- GST laws in line with the CGST to enable implementation of the new tax regime.
- Meanwhile Technology Network for rolling out the tax regime, GST Network (GSTN), will be commissioned soon to facilitate online registration, tax payment and return filing.
- “We are ready with state-of-art IT designs for GST implementation. Hardware and software will all be ready for testing by January 17,” said Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia.
- The GSTN will be a not for profit, non-government, private limited company will connect the database of states and Centre and taxpayers for seamless implementation of the indirect tax regime.