Talk of 18 percent GST rate ‘premature’: Revenue Secretary

New Delhi: Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told a news conference that it would be “premature” to expect the GST’s standard rate to be 18 percent, as proposed by the government’s own chief economic adviser, saying this would imply significant revenue losses.

"Revenue neutrality has to be maintained," Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters at a news briefing.
“Revenue neutrality has to be maintained,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters at a news briefing.

Government should be able to implement a new goods and services tax (GST) in April 2017,after the Rajya Sabha passed a key enabling amendment to the constitution,he added

Adhia also said his target was for the necessary majority of states to ratify the constitutional change in next 30 days, allowing a new GST Council to finalise legislations that will set the rate and other terms of the tax.

Most revenues came from excise duty and value-added tax whose standard rates, taken together, add up to a tax burden of 27 percent for businesses selling goods.

“Revenue neutrality has to be maintained,” Adhia told reporters at a news briefing.

If all goes to plan, the biggest tax reform since Indian independence would transform its $2 trillion economy and market of 1.3 billion people into a common market for the first time, with potentially significant long-term growth benefits.

Tax experts say, however, that the challenge of setting up a new IT system, training up tens of thousands of tax officials and briefing companies on the change could cause the launch date to slip by as much as six months.

Reuters