The Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) organized a seminar on the topic “GST @1 – The Journey so far and the Road Ahead”, on July 27 in Chennai. The seminar featured special speeches by the Principal Chief Commissioner for GST & Central Excise of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Mr. C.P. Rao, and by the Additional Chief Secretary Commissioner for State Tax for the Government of Tamil Nadu, Mr. T.V. Somanathan. 

An overview of the effects of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) during the past year was given by Mr. K. Vaitheeswaran, the Advocate & Tax Consultant, and the Chairman of the MCCI GST Committee. 

The seminar firstly addressed the gathering about the milestones of the taxation system in the country before the implementation of GST, namely, the 1994 Service Tax, Haryana implementing VAT (Value Added Tax) in 2003, Tamil Nadu following the step in 2007 and finally the implementation of GST itself in 2017.

Mr. Vaitheeswaran spoke about the reform aspects of GST, stating that it led to the harmonization of every other taxes. It presented a stage where there are uniform tax rates across the country and have a better supply chain management. More importantly, GST produced transparency in the taxation system. According to Mr. Vaitheeswaran, the implementation of GST also saw a massive reduction in indirect taxes on goods. 

New concepts were brought up by GST, such as the reverse charge mechanism for notified supply of goods and services, or even both, the taxation of stock transfers, the concept of place and time of supply and taxing on Inter-unit billing. 

Shortly after introducing GST in the country, an Integrated GST (IGST) was implemented on imported goods by the Customs Department.  

The roles of the GST Council were highlighted in the event. Close to around 28 council meetings, that included participants from every state were held. These meetings saw harmonious co-operation from every member and the council had come up with a lot of unanimous resolutions. 

The Council is also in charge of the modification of tax rates and respond to issues on account of procedural compliance.

Within a year after the implementation of GST, there were 21 amendments to the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST). Fourteen in 2017 and seven in 2018. The major issue with the implementation of GST was that the supplier of services is forced to register multiple times in case the service is provided for different States in the country.

Finally, the seminar elucidated on the future of GST and the important changes that has to be made, such as avoiding frequent changes to the law. New pro-active amendments have been proposed and finally, when compared to other countries and their implementation of GST, India always has a distinct advantage. 

The country has successfully implemented and monitored GST, when countries like Australia, Singapore, etc., withdrew the concept of GST shortly after implementation.