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Showing posts with label TAX. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TAX. Show all posts

Sunday, July 31, 2011

DIRECT AND INDIRECT TAXES

A tax may be defined as a "pecuniary burden laid upon individuals or property owners to support the government, a payment exacted by legislative authority. A tax "is not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforced contribution, exacted pursuant to legislative authority". Taxes consist of direct tax or indirect tax, and may be paid in money or as its labour equivalent (often but not always unpaid labour). India has a well developed taxation structure. The tax system in India is mainly a three tier system which is based between the Central, State Governments and the local government organizations. In most cases, these local bodies include the local councils and the municipalities. According to the Constitution of India, the government has the right to levy taxes on individuals and organizations. However, the constitution states that no one has the right to levy or charge taxes except the authority of law. Whatever tax is being charged has to be backed by the law passed by the legislature or the parliament. Article 246 (SEVENTH SCHEDULE) of the Indian Constitution, distributes legislative powers including taxation, between the Parliament and the State Legislature. Schedule VII enumerates these subject matters with the use of three lists;
• List - I entailing the areas on which only the parliament is competent to makes laws,
• List - II entailing the areas on which only the state legislature can make laws, and
• List - III listing the areas on which both the Parliament and the State Legislature can make laws upon concurrently.
Separate heads of taxation are provided under lists I and II of Seventh Schedule of Indian Constitution. There is no head of taxation in the Concurrent List (Union and the States have no concurrent power of taxation). Any tax levied by the government which is not backed by law or is beyond the powers of the legislating authority may be struck down as unconstitutional. The thirteen heads List-I of Seventh Schedule of Constitution of India covered under Union taxation, on which Parliament enacts the taxation law, are as under:
• Taxes on income other than agricultural income;
• Duties of customs including export duties;
• Duties of excise on tobacco and other goods manufactured or produced in India except (i) alcoholic liquor for human consumption, and (ii) opium, Indian hemp and other narcotic drugs and narcotics, but including medicinal and toilet preparations containing alcohol or any substance included in (ii);
• Corporation Tax;
• Taxes on capital value of assets, exclusive of agricultural land, of individuals and companies, taxes on capital of companies;
• Estate duty in respect of property other than agricultural land;
• Duties in respect of succession to property other than agricultural land;
• Terminal taxes on goods or passengers, carried by railway, sea or air; taxes on railway fares and freight;
• Taxes other than stamp duties on transactions in stock exchanges and futures markets;
• Taxes on the sale or purchase of newspapers and on advertisements published therein;
• Taxes on sale or purchase of goods other than newspapers, where such sale or purchase takes place in the course of inter-State trade or commerce;
• Taxes on the consignment of goods in the course of inter-State trade or commerce.
• All residuary types of taxes not listed in any of the three lists of Seventh Schedule of Indian Constitution.
The nineteen heads List-II of Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution covered under State taxation, on which State Legislative enacts the taxation law, are as under:
• Land revenue, including the assessment and collection of revenue, the maintenance of land records, survey for revenue purposes and records of rights, and alienation of revenues;
• Taxes on agricultural income;
• Duties in respect of succession to agricultural income;
• Estate Duty in respect of agricultural income;
• Taxes on lands and buildings;
• Taxes on mineral rights;
• Duties of excise for following goods manufactured or produced within the State (i) alcoholic liquors for human consumption, and (ii) opium, Indian hemp and other narcotic drugs and narcotics;
• Taxes on entry of goods into a local area for consumption, use or sale therein;
• Taxes on the consumption or sale of electricity;
• Taxes on the sale or purchase of goods other than newspapers;
• Taxes on advertisements other than advertisements published in newspapers and advertisements broadcast by radio or television;
• Taxes on goods and passengers carried by roads or on inland waterways;
• Taxes on vehicles suitable for use on roads;
• Taxes on animals and boats;
• Tolls;
• Taxes on profession, trades, callings and employments;
• Capitation taxes;
• Taxes on luxuries, including taxes on entertainments, amusements, betting and gambling;
• Stamp duty.
Provisions have been made by 73rd Constitutional Amendment, enforced from 24th April, 1993, to levy taxes by the Panchayat. A State may by law authorise a Panchayat to levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls etc. Similarly, the provisions have been made by 74th Constitutional Amendment, enforced from 1st June, 1993, to levy the taxes by the Municipalities. A State Legislature may by law authorise a Municipality to levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls etc.
Direct Taxes:
A Direct tax is a kind of charge, which is imposed directly on the taxpayer and paid directly to the government by the persons (juristic or natural) on whom it is imposed. A direct tax is one that cannot be shifted by the taxpayer to someone else. The some important direct taxes imposed in India are as under:
Income Tax: Income Tax Act, 1961 imposes tax on the income of the individuals or Hindu undivided families or firms or co-operative societies (other tan companies) and trusts (identified as bodies of individuals associations of persons) or every artificial juridical person. The inclusion of a particular income in the total incomes of a person for income-tax in India is based on his residential status. There are three residential status, viz., (i) Resident & Ordinarily Residents (Residents) (ii) Resident but not Ordinarily Residents and
(iii) Non Residents. There are several steps involved in determining the residential status of a person. All residents are taxable for all their income, including income outside India. Non residents are taxable only for the income received in India or Income accrued in India. Not ordinarily residents are taxable in relation to income received in India or income accrued in India and income from business or profession controlled from India.
Corporation Tax:
The companies and business organizations in India are taxed on the income from their worldwide transactions under the provision of Income Tax Act, 1961. A corporation is deemed to be resident in India if it is incorporated in India or if it’s control and management is situated entirely in India. In case of non resident corporations, tax is levied on the income which is earned from their business transactions in India or any other Indian sources depending on bilateral agreement of that country.
Property Tax:
Property tax or 'house tax' is a local tax on buildings, along with appurtenant land, and imposed on owners. The tax power is vested in the states and it is delegated by law to the local bodies, specifying the valuation method, rate band, and collection procedures. The tax base is the annual ratable value (ARV) or area-based rating. Owner-occupied and other properties not producing rent are assessed on cost and then converted into ARV by applying a percentage of cost, usually six percent. Vacant land is generally exempted from the assessment. The properties lying under control of Central are exempted from the taxation. Instead a 'service charge' is permissible under executive order. Properties of foreign missions also enjoy tax exemption without an insistence for reciprocity.
Inheritance (Estate) Tax: 
An inheritance tax (also known as an estate tax or death duty) is a tax which arises on the death of an individual. It is a tax on the estate, or total value of the money and property, of a person who has died. India enforced estate duty from 1953 to 1985. Estate Duty Act, 1953 came into existence w.e.f. 15th October, 1953. Estate Duty on agricultural land was discontinued under the Estate Duty (Amendment) Act, 1984. The levy of Estate Duty in respect of property (other than agricultural land) passing on death occurring on or after 16th March, 1985, has also been abolished under the Estate Duty (Amendment) Act, 1985.
Gift Tax: 
Gift tax in India is regulated by the Gift Tax Act which was constituted on 1st April, 1958. It came into effect in all parts of the country except Jammu and Kashmir. As per the Gift Act 1958, all gifts in excess of Rs. 25,000, in the form of cash, draft, check or others, received from one who doesn't have blood relations with the recipient, were taxable. However, with effect from 1st October, 1998, gift tax got demolished and all the gifts made on or after the date were free from tax. But in 2004, the act was again revived partially. A new provision was introduced in the Income Tax Act 1961 under section 56 (2). According to it, the gifts received by any individual or Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) in excess of Rs. 50,000 in a year would be taxable.

Indirect Tax:
An indirect tax is a tax collected by an intermediary (such as a retail store) from the person who bears the ultimate economic burden of the tax (such as the customer). An indirect tax is one that can be shifted by the taxpayer to someone else. An indirect tax may increase the price of a good so that consumers are actually paying the tax by paying more for the products. The some important indirect taxes imposed in India are as under:
Customs Duty: 
The Customs Act was formulated in 1962 to prevent illegal imports and exports of goods. Besides, all imports are sought to be subject to a duty with a view to affording protection to indigenous industries as well as to keep the imports to the minimum in the interests of securing the exchange rate of Indian currency. Duties of customs are levied on goods imported or exported from India at the rate specified under the customs Tariff Act, 1975 as amended from time to time or any other law for the time being in force. Under the custom laws, the various types of duties are leviable. (1) Basic Duty: This duty is levied on imported goods under the Customs Act, 1962. (2) Additional Duty (Countervailing Duty) (CVD): This is levied under section 3 (1) of the Custom Tariff Act and is equal to excise duty levied on a like product manufactured or produced in India. If a like product is not manufactured or produced in India, the excise duty that would be leviable on that product had it been manufactured or produced in India is the duty payable. If the product is leviable at different rates, the highest rate among those rates is the rate applicable. Such duty is leviable on the value of goods plus basic custom duty payable. (3) Additional Duty to compensate duty on inputs used by Indian manufacturers: This is levied under section 3(3) of the Customs Act. (4) Anti-dumping Duty: Sometimes, foreign sellers abroad may export into India goods at prices below the amounts charged by them in their domestic markets in order to capture Indian markets to the detriment of Indian industry. This is known as dumping. In order to prevent dumping, the Central Government may levy additional duty equal to the margin of dumping on such articles. There are however certain restrictions on imposing dumping duties in case of countries which are signatories to the GATT or on countries given "Most Favoured Nation Status" under agreement. (5) Protective Duty: If the Tariff Commission set up by law recommends that in order to protect the interests of Indian industry, the Central Government may levy protective anti-dumping duties at the rate recommended on specified goods. (6) Duty on Bounty Fed Articles: In case a foreign country subsidises its exporters for exporting goods to India, the Central Government may impose additional import duty equal to the amount of such subsidy or bounty. If the amount of subsidy or bounty cannot be clearly deter mined immediately, additional duty may be collected on a provisional basis and after final determination, difference may be collected or refunded, as the case may be. (7) Export Duty: Such duty is levied on export of goods. At present very few articles such as skins and leather are subject to export duty. The main purpose of this duty is to restrict exports of certain goods. (8) Cess on Export: Under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Cess Act, 1985 (3 of 1986), 0.5% ad valorem as the rate of duty of customs be levied and collected as cess on export of all scheduled products. (9) National Calamity Contingent Duty: This duty was imposed under Section 134 of the Finance Act, 2003 on imported petroleum crude oil. This tax was also leviable on motor cars, imported multi-utility vehicles, two wheelers and mobile phones. (10) Education Cess: Education Cess is leviable @ 2% on the aggregate of duties of Customs (except safeguard duty under Section 8B and 8C, CVD under Section 9 and anti-dumping duty under Section 9A of the Customs Tariff Act, 1985). Items attracting Customs Duty at bound rates under international commitments are exempted from this Cess. (11) Secondary and Higher Education Cess: Leviable @1% on the aggregate of duties of Customs. (12) Road Cess: Additional Duty of Customs on Motor Spirit is leviable and Additional Duty of Customs on High Speed Diesel Oil is leviable by the Finance Act (No.2), 1998. and the Finance Act, 1999 respectively. (13) Surcharge on Motor Spirit: Special Additional Duty of Customs (Surcharge) on Motor Spirit is leviable by the Finance Act, 2002.
Central Excise Duty:
The Central Government levies excise duty under the Central Excise Act, 1944 and the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985. Central excise duty is tax which is charged on such excisable goods that are manufactured in India and are meant for domestic consumption. The term "excisable goods" means the goods which are specified in the First Schedule and the Second Schedule to the Central Excise Tariff Act 1985. It is mandatory to pay Central Excise duty payable on the goods manufactured, unless exempted eg; duty is not payable on the goods exported out of India. Further various other exemptions are also notified by the Government from the payment of duty by the manufacturers. Various Central Excise are: (1) Basis Excise Duty: Excise Duty, imposed under section 3 of the ‘Central Excises and Salt Act’ of 1944 on all excisable goods other than salt produced or manufactured in India, at the rates set forth in the schedule to the Central Excise tariff Act, 1985, falls under the category of Basic Excise Duty In India. (2) Special Excise Duty: According to Section 37 of the Finance Act, 1978, Special Excise Duty is levied on all excisable goods that come under taxation, in line with the Basic Excise Duty under the Central Excises and Salt Act of 1944. Therefore, each year the Finance Act spells out that whether the Special Excise Duty shall or shall not be charged, and eventually collected during the relevant financial year. (2) Additional Duty of Excise: Section 3 of the ‘Additional Duties of Excise Act’ of 1957 permits the charge and collection of excise duty in respect of the goods as listed in the Schedule of this Act. (4) Road Cess: (a) Additional Duty of Excise on Motor Spirit: This is leviable by the Finance Act (No.2), 1998. (b) Additional Duty of Excise on High Speed Diesel Oil: This is leviable by the Finance Act, 1999. (5) Surcharge: (a) Special Additional Duty of Excise on Motor Spirit: This is leviable by the Finance Act, 2002. (b) Surcharge on Pan Masala and Tobacco Products: This Additional Duty of Excise has been imposed on cigarettes, pan masala and certain specified tobacco products, at specified rates in the Budget 2005-06. Biris are not subjected to this levy. (6) National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD): NCCD was levied on pan masala and certain specified tobacco products vide the Finance Act, 2001. The Finance Act, 2003 extended this levy to polyester filament yarn, motor car, two wheeler and multi-utility vehicle and crude petroleum oil. (7) Education Cess: Education Cess is leviable @2% on the aggregate of duties of Excise and Secondary and Higher Education Cess is Leviable @1% on the aggregate of duties of Excise. (8) Cess - A cess has been imposed on certain products.
Service Tax: 
The service providers in India except those in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are required to pay a Service Tax under the provisions of the Finance Act of 1994. The provisions related to Service Tax came into effect on 1st July, 1994. Under Section 67 of this Act, the Service Tax is levied on the gross or aggregate amount charged by the service provider on the receiver. However, in terms of Rule 6 of Service Tax Rules, 1994, the tax is permitted to be paid on the value received. The interesting thing about Service Tax in India is that the Government depends heavily on the voluntary compliance of the service providers for collecting Service Tax in India.
Sales Tax: 
Sales Tax in India is a form of tax that is imposed by the Government on the sale or purchase of a particular commodity within the country. Sales Tax is imposed under both, Central Government (Central Sales Tax) and State Government (Sales Tax) Legislation. Generally, each State follows its own Sales Tax Act and levies tax at various rates. Apart from sales tax, certain States also imposes additional charges like works contracts tax, turnover tax and purchaser tax. Thus, Sales Tax Acts as a major revenue-generator for the various State Governments. From 10th April, 2005, most of the States in India have supplemented sales tax with a new Value Added Tax (VAT).
Value Added Tax (VAT):
The practice of VAT executed by State Governments is applied on each stage of sale, with a particular apparatus of credit for the input VAT paid. VAT in India classified under the tax slabs are 0% for essential commodities, 1% on gold ingots and expensive stones, 4% on industrial inputs, capital merchandise and commodities of mass consumption, and 12.5% on other items. Variable rates (State-dependent) are applicable for petroleum products, tobacco, liquor, etc. VAT levy will be administered by the Value Added Tax Act and the rules made there-under and similar to a sales tax. It is a tax on the estimated market value added to a product or material at each stage of its manufacture or distribution, ultimately passed on to the consumer. Under the current single-point system of tax levy, the manufacturer or importer of goods into a State is liable to sales tax. There is no sales tax on the further distribution channel. VAT, in simple terms, is a multi-point levy on each of the entities in the supply chain. The value addition in the hands of each of the entities is subject to tax. VAT can be computed by using any of the three methods: (a) Subtraction method: The tax rate is applied to the difference between the value of output and the cost of input. (b) The Addition method: The value added is computed by adding all the payments that is payable to the factors of production (viz., wages, salaries, interest payments etc). (c) Tax credit method: This entails set-off of the tax paid on inputs from tax collected on sales.
Securities Transaction Tax (STT): 
STT is a tax being levied on all transactions done on the stock exchanges. STT is applicable on purchase or sale of equity shares, derivatives, equity oriented funds and equity oriented Mutual Funds. Current STT on purchase or sell of an equity share is 0.075%. A person becomes investor after payment of STT at the time of selling securities (shares). Selling the shares after 12 months comes under long term capital gains and one need not have to pay any tax on that gain. In the case of selling the shares before 12 months, one has to pay short term capital gains @10% flat on the gain. However, for a trader, all his gains will be treated as trading (Business) and he has to pay tax as per tax sables. In this case the transaction tax paid by him can be claimed back/adjusted in tax to be paid.
The overall control for administration of Direct Taxes lies with the Union Finance Ministry which functions through Income Tax Department with the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) at its apex. The CBDT is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. It also functions as a division of the Ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of Direct Taxes. The Central Excise Department spread over the entire country administers and collects the central excise duty. The apex body that is responsible for the policy and formulation of rules is the Central Board of Excise and Customs which functions under the control of the Union Finance Ministry. The Central Excise officers are also entrusted with the administration and collection of Service tax and the Customs duty.
The information contained in this chapter is related to direct and indirect taxes imposed and collected by the Union Government. The tables giving data from 2000-01 onwards in respect direct taxes (corporation tax, income tax and other direct taxes) collected by Central Board of Direct Tax (CBDT) and indirect taxes (customs duties, union excise duties and service tax) collected by Central Board of Excise and Customs. Customs Collection Rate used in this chapter is defined as the ratio of revenue collection (basic customs duty + countervailing duty) to value of imports (in per cent) unadjusted for exemptions, expressed in percentage.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Direct Taxes Code


On 12th August, 2009 Hon'ble Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee released the Draft Direct Taxes Code  for public debate. The Code envisages promoting voluntary tax compliance and an equitable and progressive tax regime by eliminating distortions in the tax structure, introducing moderate levels of taxation, expanding the tax base and simplifying the drafting language. Based on the inputs from the public, the Government will finalize the Draft Taxes Code Bill for presentation in the winter session of Parliament, 2009. The new law is proposed to be effective from 1st April, 2011.

Salient Features of the Code

The Code seeks to consolidate and amend the law relating to all direct taxes, that is, income-tax, dividend distribution tax, fringe benefit tax and wealth-tax so as to establish an economically efficient, effective and equitable direct tax system which will facilitate voluntary compliance and help increase the tax-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio. Another objective is to reduce the scope for disputes and minimize litigation.
Briefly, the salient features of the Code are as under:-
  • Single Code for direct taxes: All the direct taxes have been brought under a single Code and compliance procedures unified. This will eventually pave the way for a single unified taxpayer reporting system.
  • Use of simple language: With the expansion of the economy, the number of taxpayers can be expected to increase significantly. The bulk of these taxpayers will be small paying moderate amounts of tax. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the cost of compliance low by facilitating voluntary compliance by them. This is sought to be achieved, inter alia, by using simple language in drafting so as to convey, with clarity, the intent, scope and amplitude of the provision of law. Each sub-section is a short sentence intended to convey only one point. All directions and mandates, to the extent possible, have been conveyed in active voice. Similarly, the provisos and explanations have been eliminated since they are incomprehensible to non-experts. The various conditions embedded in a provision have also been nested. More importantly, keeping in view the fact that a tax law is essentially a commercial law, extensive use of formulae and tables has been made.
  • Reducing the scope for litigation: Wherever possible, an attempt has been made to avoid ambiguity in the provisions that invariably give rise to rival interpretations. The objective is that the tax administrator and the tax payer are ad idem on the provisions of the law and the assessment results in a finality to the tax liability of the tax payer. To further this objective, power has also been delegated to the Central Government/Board to avoid protracted litigation on procedural issues.
  • Flexibility: The structure of the statute has been developed in a manner which is capable of accommodating the changes in the structure of a growing economy without resorting to frequent amendments. Therefore, to the extent possible, the essential and general principles have been reflected in the statute and the matters of detail are contained in the rules/Schedules.
  • To ensure that the law can be reflected in a Form: For most taxpayers, particularly the small and marginal category, the tax law is what is reflected in the Form. Therefore, the A-10 structure of the tax law has been designed so that it is capable of being logically reproduced in a Form.
  • Consolidation of provisions: In order to enable a better understanding of tax legislation, provisions relating to definitions, incentives, procedure and rates of taxes have been consolidated. Further, the various provisions have also been rearranged to make it consistent with the general scheme of the Act.
  • Elimination of regulatory functions: Traditionally, the taxing statute has also been used as a regulatory tool. However, with regulatory authorities being established in various sectors of the economy, the regulatory function of the taxing statute has been withdrawn. This has significantly contributed to the simplification exercise.
  • Providing stability: At present, the rates of taxes are stipulated in the Finance Act of the relevant year. Therefore, there is a certain degree of uncertainty and instability in the prevailing rates of taxes. Under the Code, all rates of taxes are proposed to be prescribed in the First to the Fourth Schedule to the Code itself thereby obviating the need for an annual Finance Bill. The changes in the rates, if any, will be done through appropriate amendments to the Schedule brought before Parliament in the form of an Amendment Bill.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Direct Tax Code

The direct tax code seeks to consolidate and amend the law relating to all direct taxes, namely, income-tax, dividend distribution tax, fringe benefit tax and wealth-tax so as to establish an economically efficient, effective and equitable direct tax system which will facilitate voluntary compliance and help increase the tax-GDP ratio. Another objective is to reduce the scope for disputes and minimize litigation. It is designed to provide stability in the tax regime as it is based on well accepted principles of taxation and best international practices. It will eventually pave the way for a single unified taxpayer reporting system.
The salient features of the code are:
  • Single Code for direct taxes: all the direct taxes have been brought under a single Code and compliance procedures unified. This will eventually pave the way for a single unified taxpayer reporting system.
  • Use of simple language: with the expansion of the economy, the number of taxpayers can be expected to increase significantly. The bulk of these taxpayers will be small, paying moderate amounts of tax. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the cost of compliance low by facilitating voluntary compliance by them. This is sought to be achieved, inter alia, by using simple language in drafting so as to convey, with clarity, the intent, scope and amplitude of the provision of law. Each sub-section is a short sentence intended to convey only one point. All directions and mandates, to the extent possible, have been conveyed in active voice. Similarly, the provisos and explanations have been eliminated since they are incomprehensible to non-experts. The various conditions embedded in a provision have also been nested. More importantly, keeping in view the fact that a tax law is essentially a commercial law, extensive use of formulae and tables has been made.
  • Reducing the scope for litigation: wherever possible, an attempt has been made to avoid ambiguity in the provisions that invariably give rise to rival interpretations. The objective is that the tax administrator and the tax payer are ad idem on the provisions of the law and the assessment results in a finality to the tax liability of the tax payer. To further this objective, power has also been delegated to the Central Government/Board to avoid protracted litigation on procedural issues.
  • Flexibility: the structure of the statute has been developed in a manner which is capable of accommodating the changes in the structure of a growing economy without resorting to frequent amendments. Therefore, to the extent possible, the essential and general principles have been reflected in the statute and the matters of detail are contained in the rules/schedules.
  • Ensure that the law can be reflected in a Form: for most taxpayers, particularly the small and marginal category, the tax law is what is reflected in the Form. Therefore, the structure of the tax law has been designed so that it is capable of being logically reproduced in a Form.
  • Consolidation of provisions: in order to enable a better understanding of tax legislation, provisions relating to definitions, incentives, procedure and rates of taxes have been consolidated. Further, the various provisions have also been rearranged to make it consistent with the general scheme of the Act.
  • Elimination of regulatory functions: traditionally, the taxing statute has also been used as a regulatory tool. However, with regulatory authorities being established in various sectors of the economy, the regulatory function of the taxing statute has been withdrawn. This has significantly contributed to the simplification exercise.
  • Providing stability: at present, the rates of taxes are stipulated in the Finance Act of the relevant year. Therefore, there is a certain degree of uncertainty and instability in the prevailing rates of taxes. Under the Code, all rates of taxes are proposed to be prescribed in the First to the Fourth Schedule to the Code itself thereby obviating the need for an annual Finance Bill. The changes in the rates, if any, will be done through appropriate amendments to the Schedule brought before Parliament in the form of an Amendment Bill.

Value Added Tax (VAT)


One of the important components of tax reforms initiated since liberalization is the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT is a multi-point destination based system of taxation, with tax being levied on value addition at each stage of transaction in the production/ distribution chain. The term 'value addition' implies the increase in value of goods and services at each stage of production or transfer of goods and services. VAT is a tax on the final consumption of goods or services and is ultimately borne by the consumer. It is a multi-stage tax with the provision to allow 'Input tax credit (ITC)' on tax at an earlier stage, which can be appropriated against the VAT liability on subsequent sale. This input tax credit in relation to any period means setting off the amount of input tax by a registered dealer against the amount of his output tax. It is given for all manufacturers and traders for purchase of inputs/supplies meant for sale, irrespective of when these will be utilised/ sold. The VAT liability of the dealer/ manufacturer is calculated by deducting input tax credit from tax collected on sales during the payment period (say, a month). If the tax credit exceeds the tax payable on sales in a month, the excess credit will be carried over to the end of next financial year. If there is any excess unadjusted input tax credit at the end of second year, then the same will be eligible for refund. VAT is basically a State subject, derived from Entry 54 of the State List, for which the States are sovereign in taking decisions. The State Governments, through Taxation Departments, are carrying out the responsibility of levying and collecting VAT in the respective States. While, the Central Government is playing the role of a facilitator for the successful implementation of VAT. The Ministry of Finance is the main agency for levying and implementing VAT, both at the Centre and the State level.
The Department of Revenue, under the Ministry of Finance, exercises control in respect of matters relating to all the direct and indirect taxes, through two statutory Boards, namely, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board of Customs and Central Excise (CBEC). The Sales Tax Division, of Department of Revenue, deals with enactment and amendment of the Central Sales Tax Act; levy of tax on sales in the course of inter-State trade or commerce; levy of VAT; etc. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) deals with the tasks of formulation of policy concerning levy and collection of customs and central excise duties, allowing of Central Value added Tax (CENVAT) credit, etc. While, the decision to implement State level VAT has been taken in the meeting of the Empowered Committee (EC) of State Finance Ministers, held on June 18, 2004, where a broad consensus was arrived at to introduce VAT in all States/ Union Territories (UTs).

The entire design of VAT with input tax credit is crucially based on documentation of tax invoice, cash memo or bill. Every registered dealer, having turnover of sales above an amount specified, needs to issue to the purchaser serially numbered tax invoice with the prescribed particulars. This tax invoice is to be signed and dated by the dealer or his regular employee, showing the required particulars. For identification/ registration of dealers under VAT, the Tax Payer's Identification Number (TIN) is used. TIN consists of 11 digit numerals throughout the country. Its first two characters represent the State Code and the set-up of the next nine characters can vary in different States.
In India's prevalent sales tax structure, there have been problems of double taxation of commodities and multiplicity of taxes, resulting in a cascading tax burden. For instance, in this structure, before a commodity is produced, inputs are first taxed, and then after the commodity is produced with input tax load, output is taxed again. This causes an unfair double taxation with cascading effects. Hence, the VAT has been introduced to replace such sales tax structure. Moreover, it seeks to phase out the Central Sales Tax (CST) and several efforts are being made in this regard.
The main motive of VAT has been the rationalisation of overall tax burden and reduction in general price level. Thus, it seeks to help common people, traders, industrialists as well as the Government. It is indeed a move towards more efficiency, equal competition and fairness in the taxation system. The main benefits of implementation of VAT are:-
  • Minimizes tax evasion as VAT is imposed on the basis of invoice/ bill at each stage, so that tax evaded at first stage gets caught at the next stage;
  • A set-off is given for input tax as well as tax paid on previous purchases;
  • Abolishes multiplicity of taxes, that is, taxes such as turnover tax, surcharge on sales tax, additional surcharge, etc. are being abolished;
  • Replaces the existing system of inspection by a system of built-in self-assessment of VAT liability by the dealers and manufacturers (in terms of submission of returns upon setting off the tax credit);
  • Tax structure becomes simpler and more transparent;
  • Improves tax compliance;
  • Generates higher revenue growth;
  • Promotes competitiveness of exports; etc.
At the Central level, there is Central Value Added Tax (CENVAT) which pertains to the rationalisation of Central excise duty structure in India. At present, there is a uniform rate of CENVAT of 16 per cent on most of the inputs and final products. The CENVAT has been introduced to end all the disputes that were taking place due to classification of various types of inputs as rates were different on different varieties. Accordingly, the CENVAT Credit Rules have been notified and amended, from time to time, which are as follows:-
Under these, a manufacturer or producer of final products and a provider of output service is allowed to take credit (known as CENVAT credit) of the duty of excise, as mentioned in the Rules, paid on specified inputs and capital goods used in or in relation to the manufacture of specified final products. The CENVAT credit so allowed can be utilized for payment of :- (i) any duty of excise on any final product; or (ii) an amount equal to CENVAT credit taken on inputs, if such inputs are removed as such or after being partially processed; or (iii) an amount equal to the CENVAT credit taken on capital goods, if such capital goods are removed as such; or (iv) service tax on any output service, as per the conditions laid down in the rules. In the latest budget, it is proposed to reduce the general CENVAT rate on all goods from 16 per cent to 14 per cent in order to give a stimulus to the manufacturing sector.

At the State level, the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers have finalized a design of VAT to be adopted by all the States/ UTs. This basic design of VAT retains the essential features of VAT and keep them common for all the States/ UTs, like, the rates of VAT on various commodities are kept uniform for all. At the same time, it provides a measure of flexibility to the States/ UTs so as to enable them to meet their local requirements.
At present, there are 2 basic rates of VAT, namely, 4 per cent and 12.5 per cent, besides an exempt category and a special rate of 1 per cent for a few selected items. The items of basic necessities and goods of local importance (upto 10 items) have been put in the zero rate bracket or the exempted schedule. Gold, silver and precious stones have been put in the 1 per cent schedule. There is also a category with 20 per cent floor rate of tax, but the commodities listed in this schedule are not eligible for input tax rebate/set off. This category covers items like motor spirit (petrol, diesel and aviation turbine fuel), liquor, etc. Some of the other features of VAT in the State (as finalized by the Empowered Committee) are:-
  • As per provision for eliminating the multiplicity of taxes, all the State taxes on purchase or sale of goods (excluding Entry Tax in lieu of Octroi) are required to be subsumed in VAT or made VATable.
  • A provision has been made for allowing 'Input Tax Credit (ITC)' which is the basic feature of VAT. However, since the VAT being implemented is intra-State VAT only and does not cover inter-State sale transactions, ITC is not to be available on inter-State purchases.
  • Exports to be zero-rated, with credit given for all taxes on inputs/purchases related to such exports.
  • There are provisions to make the system more business-friendly. For instance, provision for self assessment by the dealers; provision of a threshold limit for registration of dealers in terms of annual turnover of Rs. 5 lakhs; and provision for composition of tax liability up to annual turnover limit of Rs. 50 lakhs.
  • Regarding the industrial incentives, the States have been allowed to continue with the existing incentives, without breaking the VAT chain. Further, no fresh sales tax/ VAT-based incentives are permitted.
Haryana became the first State in the country to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT). Till 2007, VAT has been introduced by more than 30 States/UTs, including Tamil Nadu (implemented VAT from January 1, 2007) and the UT of Puducherry (implemented VAT from April 1, 2007). From January 01, 2008, the Government of Uttar Pradesh has made VAT effective in the State. Some of the other States/ UTs which have implemented VAT are:-
Over the years, the experience of implementing VAT in India has been very encouraging, with the Empowered Committee constantly reviewing the progress of implementation. The revenue performance of VAT-implementing States/UTs has also been very significant. During 2006-07, the tax revenue of the 31 VAT States/UTs had collectively registered a growth rate of about 21 per cent over the tax revenue of 2005-06. During 2007-08, the tax revenue of 32 VAT States/UTs showed a further growth of 14.6 per cent during the first six months of 2007-08 (April-September) as compared to the corresponding period of last year.
Besides, the Central Government had announced a compensation package under which the States are compensated for any revenue loss on account of VAT introduction at the rate of 100 per cent of revenue loss during 2005-06, 75 per cent during 2006-07 and 50 per cent during 2007-08. Further, the technical and financial support are being provided to the States/ UTs for VAT computerization, publicity and awareness and other related aspects.

Service Tax

Service tax is a tax levied on services rendered by a person and the responsibility of payment of the tax is cast on the service provider. It is an indirect tax as it can be recovered from the service receiver by the service provider in course of his business transactions. Service Tax was introduced in India in 1994 by Chapter V of the Finance Act, 1994. It was imposed on a initial set of three services in 1994 and the scope of the service tax has since been expanded continuously by subsequent Finance Acts. The Finance Act, extends the levy of service tax to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
The Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) under Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, deals with the task of formulation of policy concerning levy and collection of Service Tax. In exercise of the powers conferred, the Central Government makes service tax rules for the purpose of the assessment and collection of service tax. The Service Tax is being administered by various Central Excise Commissionerates, working under the Central Board of Excise & Customs. There are six Commissionerates located at metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore which deal exclusively with work related to Service Tax. Directorate of Service Tax at Mumbai over sees the activities at the field level for technical and policy level coordination.

Excise Duty

Central Excise duty is an indirect tax levied on those goods which are manufactured in India and are meant for home consumption. The taxable event is 'manufacture' and the liability of central excise duty arises as soon as the goods are manufactured. It is a tax on manufacturing, which is paid by a manufacturer, who passes its incidence on to the customers. The term "excisable goods" means the goods which are specified in the First Schedule and the Second Schedule to the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 , as being subject to a duty of excise and includes salt.
The term "manufacture" includes any process,
  1. Incidental or ancillary to the completion of a manufactured product and
  2. Which is specified in relation to any goods in the Section or Chapter Notes of the First Schedule to the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 as amounting to manufacture or
  3. Which, in relation to the goods specified in the Third Schedule, involves packing or repacking of such goods in a unit container or labelling or re-labelling of containers including the declaration or alteration of retail sale price on it or adoption of any other treatment on the goods to render the product marketable to the consumer.
As incidence of excise duty arises on production or manufacture of goods, the law does not require the sale of goods from place of manufacture, as a mandatory requirement. Normally, duty is payable on 'removal' of goods. The Central Excise Rules provide that every person who produces or manufactures any 'excisable goods', or who stores such goods in a warehouse, shall pay the duty leviable on such goods in the manner provided in rules or under any other law. No excisable goods, on which any duty is payable, shall be 'removed' without payment of duty from any place, where they are produced or manufactured, or from a warehouse, unless otherwise provided. The word 'removal' cannot be necessarily equated with sale.
The removal may be for:-
  1. Sale
  2. Transfer to depot etc.
  3. Captive consumption
  4. Transfer to another unit
  5. Free distribution
Thus, it can be seen that duty becomes payable irrespective of whether the removal is for sale or for some other purpose.

Wealth Tax


Wealth tax is a direct tax, which is charged on the net wealth of the assessee. It is a tax on the benefits derived from ownership of property. The tax is to be paid year after year on the same property on its market value, whether or not such property yields any income. Wealth tax, in India, is levied under Wealth-tax Act, 1957. The Income tax department under the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance administers the Wealth Tax Act, 1957 as well as the Wealth Tax Rules framed there under.
Under the Act, the tax is charged in respect of the wealth held during the assessment year by the following persons :-
  • Individual
  • Hindu Undivided Family(HUF)
  • Company
Chargeability to tax also depends upon the residential status of the assessee same as the residential status for the purpose of the Income Tax Act.
Wealth tax is not levied on productive assets, hence investments in shares, debentures, UTI, mutual funds, etc are exempt from it. The assets chargeable to wealth tax are :-
  • Guest house, residential house, commercial building
  • Motor car
  • Jewellery, bullion, utensils of gold, silver etc
  • Yachts, boats and aircrafts
  • Urban land
  • Cash in hand(in excess of 50,000), only for Individual & HUF
The following will not be included in Assets :-
  • Any of the above if held as Stock in trade.
  • A house held for business or profession.
  • Any property in nature of commercial complex.
  • A house let out for more than 300 days in a year.
  • Gold deposit bond.
  • A residential house allotted by a Company to an employee, or an Officer, or a Whole Time Director ( Gross salary i.e. excluding perquisites and before Standard Deduction of such Employee, Officer, Director should be less than Rs. 5,00,000).
The Assets exempt from Wealth tax are :-
  • Property held under a trust.
  • Interest of the assessee in the coparcenary property of a HUF of which he is a member.
  • Residential building of a former ruler.
  • Assets belonging to Indian repatriates.
  • One house or a part of house or a plot of land not exceeding 500sq.mts,for individual & HUF assessee.
Wealth tax is chargeable in respect of Net wealth corresponding to Valuation date.(Net wealth means all assets less loans taken to acquire those assets. Valuation date means 31st March of immediately preceding the assessment year). In other words, the value of the taxable assets on the valuation date is clubbed together and is reduced by the amount of debt owed by the assessee. The net wealth so arrived at is charged to tax at the specified rates. Wealth tax is charged @ 1% of the amount by which the net wealth exceeds Rs. 15 Lakhs.

MODVAT and CENVAT

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Taxation of inputs, like raw materials, components and other intermediaries had a number of limitations. In production process, raw material passes through various processes stages till a final product emerges. Thus, output of the first manufacturer becomes input for second manufacturer and so on. When the inputs are used in the manufacture of product `A', the cost of the final product increases not only on account of the cost of the inputs, but also on account of the duty paid on such inputs. As the duty on the final product is on ad valorem basis and the final cost of product `A' includes the cost of inputs, inclusive of the duty paid, duty charged on product `A' meant doubly taxing raw materials. In other words, the tax burden goes on increasing as raw material and final product passes from one stage to other because, each subsequent purchaser has to pay tax again and again on the material which has already suffered tax. This is called cascading effect or double taxation. This very often distorted the production structure and did not allow the correct assessment of the tax incidence. Therefore, the Government tried to remove these defects of the Central Excise System by progressively relieving inputs from excise and countervailing duties. An ideal system to realize this objective would have been to adopt value added taxation (VAT). However, on account of some practical difficulties it was not possible to fully adopt the value added taxation.
Hence, Government evolved a new scheme, `MODVAT' (Modified Value Added Tax). MODVAT Scheme which essentially follows VAT Scheme of taxation. i.e. if a manufacturer A purchases certain components(raw materials) from another manufacturer B for use in its product. B would have paid excise duty on components manufactured by it and would have recovered that excise duty in its sales price from A. Now, A has to pay excise duty on product manufactured by it as well as bear the excise duty paid by the supplier of raw material B. Under the MODVAT scheme, a manufacturer can take credit of excise duty paid on raw materials and components used by him in his manufacture. It amounts to excise duty only on additions in value by each manufacturer at each stage.
The modvat scheme is regulated by Rules 57A to 57U of the Central Excise Rules and the notifications issued there under (The Central Excise Rules, 2002 (Section 143 of the Finance Act, 2002).
Modvat Scheme ensures the revenue of the same order and at same time the price of the final product could be lower. Apart from reducing the costs through elimination of cascade effect, and bringing in greater rationalization in tax structure and also bringing in certainty in the amount of tax leviable on the final product, this scheme will help the consumer to understand precisely the impact of taxation on the cost of any product and will, therefore, enable consumer resistance to unethical attempts on the part of manufacturers to raise prices of final products, attributing the same to higher taxes.
Subsequently, MODVAT scheme was restructured into CENVAT( Central Value Added Tax) scheme. A new set of rules 57AA to 57AK , under The Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004, were framed and whatever restrictions restrictions were there in MODVAT Scheme were put to an end and comparatively, a free hand was given to the assesses.
Under the Cenvat Scheme, a manufacturer of final product or provider of taxable service shall be allowed to take credit of duty of excise as well as of service tax paid on any input received in the factory or any input service received by manufacturer of final product.
The term "Input" means: -
  1. All goods, except light diesel oil, high speed diesel oil and motor spirit, commonly known as petrol, used in or in relation to the manufacture of final products whether directly or indirectly and whether contained in the final product or not and includes lubricating oils, greases, cutting oils, coolants, accessories of the final products cleared along with the final product, goods used as paint, or as packing material, or as fuel, or for generation of electricity or steam used in or in relation to manufacture of final products or for any other purpose, within the factory of production
  2. All goods, except light diesel oil, high speed diesel oil, motor spirit, commonly known as petrol and motor vehicles, used for providing any output service;
Explanation 1 : The light diesel oil, high-speed diesel oil or motor spirit, commonly known as petrol, shall not be treated as an input for any purpose whatsoever.

Explanation 2 : Inputs include goods used in the manufacture of capital goods which are further used in the factory of the manufacturer;"

The term "Input service" means any service: -
  1. Used by a provider of taxable service for providing an output service; or
  2. Used by the manufacturer, whether directly or indirectly, in or in relation to the manufacture of final products and clearance of final products from the place of removal,
And includes services used in relation to setting up, modernization, renovation or repairs of a factory, premises of provider of output service or an office relating to such factory or premises, advertisement or sales promotion, market research, storage upto the place of removal, procurement of inputs, activities relating to business, such as accounting, auditing, financing, recruitment and quality control, coaching and training, computer networking, credit rating, share registry and security, inward transportation of inputs or capital goods and outward transportation upto the place of removal;"
Manufacturer and service providers can avail Cenvat credit of capital goods used by them. The plant and machinery and allied items are purchased by a manufacturer. Such goods known as capital goods may be duty paid. The capital goods shall be used in manufacture of final products or for providing output service. The CENVAT credit in respect of duty paid on capital goods shall be taken only for an amount not exceeding fifty percent of the duty paid in the same financial year and the credit of balance amount can be take in any financial year subsequent to the financial year in which the capital goods were received.
Duty Paying Documents against which CENVAT credit can be availed are:-
  • Invoice issued by

    • A manufacture of inputs or capital goods.
    • An importer
    • An importer from his depot or premises of consignment agent,
    • Provided the depot/ premises is registered with central excise
    • A first/second stage dealer.

  • A supplementary invoice
  • A bill of entry.
  • A certificate issued by appraiser of customs
  • An invoice/bill/challan issued by providers of input service.
  • A challan evidencing payment of service tax.
Credit of duty is allowed only if all the conditions given below are met:-
  • The basic criteria for availment of credit of duty paid on inputs or capital goods is that the goods shall be used in manufacture of final products.
  • The goods shall be accompanied with proper prescribed documents.
  • The final products shall not be exempt from whole of duty or chargeable to nil rate of duty.

Primer on Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) roll-out has entered the final stage with the Union government introducing the Constitution Amendment Bill. It is a uniform national tax to be levied across the country on all goods and services.

The current indirect tax system in India is mired in a maze of multi-layered taxes levied by the Centre and States at different stages of the supply chain such as excise duty, octroi, central sales tax, value-added tax and service tax. Under GST, all these will be subsumed under a single tax.

The plan is to roll out the regime on April 1, 2012.

The Finance Commission estimates prices of agricultural goods will increase between 0.61% and 1.18%, while prices of manufactured items would fall by 1.22-2.53%.

A corpus of about Rs 50,000 crore is likely to be set up to compensate States for any loss of revenue due to GST implementation.

A GST council will be created, which will act as a joint forum for the Centre and States. It will be headed by the Finance Minister and will have Finance Ministers of each State as members. The council will decide on tax rates, exemptions and threshold limits.

There will be a dual GST structure—one for Centre and the other for States. The proceeds of the central GST would be shared between Centre and States on basis of the devolution formula recommended by the Finance Commission.