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What is GST?

Goods & Service Tax or GST is a value added tax which will subsume and replace all the current indirect taxes levied in India. Hailed as one of the biggest fiscal reforms in the country, GST will be applicable to all businesses, small and large. With GST, there will be no scope for variable taxation anymore and the entire nation will follow a unified tax structure.

GST will be levied on both goods and services. India will follow a dual system of GST to keep the Centre and State fiscally independent of each other. The GST Council, consisting of the Union Finance Minister and various State Finance Ministers, has devised a four-tiered tax structure for the country with tax slabs of 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28% for different categories of products. 

Which Taxes will GST Replace?

It will replace all the following taxes and bring them under one umbrella to make compliance easier:

(i) Taxes currently levied and collected by the Centre:

  1.  Central Excise duty
  2.  Additional Duties of Customs (commonly known as CVD)
  3.  Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD)
  4.  Service Tax


(ii) Taxes currently levied and collected by the State:

  1. State VAT
  2. Central Sales Tax
  3. Entertainment and Amusement Tax (except when levied by the local bodies)
  4. Taxes on lotteries, betting and gambling

Please click on the blue headings for more detailed analysis on each topic.

GST Framework

  • India will follow dual form of GST (like Canada and Brazil)
  • At the intra-state level (goods/services are sold within the state)- CGST (Central Goods and Services Tax) and SGST (State Goods and Services Tax) will be levied
  • At the inter-state level, IGST (Or Integrated Goods and Services Tax) shall be levied.
  • Imports shall be considered as inter-state supply and IGST will be applicable. However, basic customs duty will apply on imports
  • Exports shall be zero-rated.
  • Supplies to SEZ will be zero-rated

Benefits of GST

An important benefit of the introduction of GST will be the removal of the cascading tax effect. In simple words “cascading tax effect” means tax on tax.

Under the current regime, service tax paid on input services cannot be set off against output VAT. Under GST, input tax credit can be availed smoothly across goods and services thus reducing the tax burden and removing cascading effect.

Also, the current tax regime has excise VAT and service tax, each of which has their own returns and compliances. GST will unify all these reducing the number of returns and compliances.

Taxable Person

A ‘taxable person’ under GST, is a person who carries on any business at any place in India and who is registered or required to be registered under the GST Act. 

GST registration is mandatory for (amongst others)-

  • Any business whose turnover in a financial year exceeds Rs 20 lakhs (Rs 10 lakhs for North Eastern and hill states)
  • Input service distributor (see below)
  • E-commerce operator or aggregator
  • Person who supplies via e-commerce aggregator

(Click here for the full list)


An expected 8 million taxpayers will migrate from various platforms into GST. All of these businesses will be assigned a unique Goods and Services Tax Identification Number (GSTIN). But most are yet not aware of the new registration process and the identification number.

Each taxpayer will be allotted a state-wise PAN-based 15-digit Goods and Services Taxpayer Identification Number (GSTIN). PAN is absolutely mandatory for GST. A person without PAN must first obtain a PAN before registering for GST.

Reverse Charge

Normally, the supplier pays the tax on supply. In certain cases, the receiver becomes liable to pay the tax, i.e., the chargeability gets reversed which is why it is called reverse charge.

The concept of reverse charge mechanism is already present in service tax. In GST regime, reverse charge will be applicable for goods (new) as well as services.

Mixed Supply & Composite Supply Under GST

This is a new concept introduced in GST which will cover all supplies made together, in a bundle, whether the supplies are related or not. The concept of composite supply in GST regime is similar to the concept of bundled services under Service Tax Laws. However, the concept of mixed supply is entirely new.

Composite Supply

Composite supply means a supply comprises two or more goods/services, which are naturally bundled and supplied with each other in the ordinary course of business, one of which is a principal supply. The items cannot be supplied separately.

Mixed Supply

Mixed supply under GST means two or more individual supplies of goods or services, or any combination, made together with each other by a taxable person for a single price. Each of these items can be supplied separately and is not dependent on any other.

Continuous Supply

The goods/services are supplied periodically and the payments are also made periodically, often monthly. For example, supplying bricks to builders is a continuous supply of goods because there will be a periodic supply for a long time.

Telecom and internet services provided by telecom companies are other examples of continuous supply of services.

GST Compliance Rating

According to the model GST law, refund claims under the GST regime will also be processed on merit basis, i.e on the GST compliance rating of the registered taxpayer. It is expected that certain slabs rates will be maintained for various taxpayers falling under various bandwidths of compliance rating and the instant refunds will be made in terms of percentage amount based on the individual rating of the taxpayer. For example, a taxpayer with rating 8 will get 80% instant refund.


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All Articles

  1. Under GST there is reverse charge on buying from unregistered dealers. If such purchases are above Rs. 5,000 then they will be required to pay GST on them.
  2. Let us look at chapter 19 of CGST rules - Offences and Penalties. This text is taken from
  3. Let us look at chapter 18 of CGST rules - Demands and Recovery. This text is taken from
  4. Let us look at chapter 17 of CGST rules - Inspection, Search and Seizure. This text is taken from
  5. Let us look at chapter 16 of CGST rules - E-Way Rules. This text is taken from
  6. Let us look at chapter 15 of CGST rules - Anti-Profiteering. This text is taken from
  7. Let us look at chapter 14 of CGST rules - Transitional Provisions. This text is taken from
  8. Let us look at chapter 13 of CGST rules - Appeals and Revision. This text is taken from
  9. Let us look at chapter 12 of CGST rules - Advance Ruling. This text is taken from
  10. Let us look at chapter 11 of CGST rules - Assessment and Audit. This text is taken from
  11. Let us look at chapter 10 of CGST rules - Refund. This text is taken from
  12. Let us look at chapter 9 of CGST rules - Payment of Tax. This text is taken from
  13. Let us look at chapter 6 of CGST rules - Tax Invoice, Credit and Debit Notes. This text is taken from
  14. Let us look at chapter 4 of CGST rules - Determination of Value of Supply. This text is taken from
  15. The Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) is a non-profit, non-government organization which manages the entire IT system of the GST portal. Read more here!
  16. There are some items not covered under GST, i.e., they are beyond the scope of GST. They are listed in Schedule III of the GST Act.
  17. ಸರಕುಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಸೇವಾ ತೆರಿಗೆ ಅಥವಾ ಜಿಎಸ್ಟಿ ಜುಲೈ 1 ರಂದು ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಯಾಗಲಿದೆ, ಮತ್ತು ನಾವು ನಮ್ಮ ತೆರಿಗೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡುವ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕ್ರಾಂತಿಕಾರಿಗೊಳಿಸಬೇಕಾಗಿದೆ.
  18. Learn all about GST with Cleartax Free GST ebook. This online GST book explains the basics of GST, comparison with current tax system & more.
  19. Certain activities clearly classified as goods or services under GST Schedule II, which aims to remove complexities and reduce legal action.
  20. Understand the basics of GST in Tamil
  21. Transactions between related persons and other activities of GST Schedule I will be treated as supply even if made without any consideration.
  22. वस्तु एवं सेवा कर या जी एस टी भारत सरकार की नई अप्रत्यक्ष कर व्यवस्था है जो 1 जुलाई 2017 से लागू हो रही है. Read more about GST in Hindi. Know about GST Bill in Hindi.
  23. All is not smooth sailing for GST and there are some obvious disadvantages of GST for businesses and end consumer that they need to overcome.
  24. Know about all GST advantages and benefits of GST to common man in India, consumers, company and the Indian economy - Complete Guide on GST Benefits
  25. GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) is considered as an enabler for businesses to comply with the provisions of GST law through their GST Software. Read more here