GST and its benefit to the retail sector
Dated 3rd February, 2016
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a comprehensive tax levied on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services at a national level. Under GST there will be no difference between goods and services. It tries to eliminate indirect taxes and mitigate cascading or double taxation issues and leads to a common national market, with elimination of state boundaries.
The execution of GST in India emerges from the complications of the current tax system of the country. GST targets to minimize the hitches in double taxation: primarily eradicating cascading tax and smoothing the flow & structure to make it more seamless and organized. It will assist in making full input tax credit possible at Central and State level. GST would also help to restructure interstate transactions. It will focus on streamlining the taxation methods at different levels across all the states in the country and between the states & central government. Administrative costs would get condensed - would be one of the merits. A level playing field would be created with a common national market.
It also eases the launch of start-ups and makes business relatively easier. In a long term perspective, this will lead to a rise in the economic growth of the country. Most importantly, it will strengthen relations with multinational companies and aid in increasing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Foreign Institutional Investor (FII). This will further help in faster decision making, which will further strengthen the relationship with the country.
Looking at the current picture of the India retail sector, the introduction of GST will act as a benefit at different stages of the value chain. To begin with, the procurement of raw materials, movement of goods would become less cumbersome, which opens gates for more suppliers /vendors to merge. Following this, a wider base of distributors would be available as state boundary paperwork will not be a hurdle, resulting to better access and low transportation costs. A favourable environment for a supply chain would reduce in transit inventory, further reducing the working capital requirement. Adding to this, simplified taxes & availability of input tax credits can help fetch better margins. GST will also avoid the red tape and documentation on collection & submission of various forms.
A major pain point for the industry -Rentals are one of the main costs of retailing industry and it attracts service tax at 14.5%. Currently, the retailers cannot set off these costs like the other industries. This they feel is an additional cost of operating in this industry which is unfair to them. Under GST, taxes on services would be available for set off against taxes on goods. Thus, the retailers would be positively impacted.
To conclude, the key benefits of the GST will be the aid where the retailers create supply chain methods based on transportation models rather than taxation models.