By: Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal

What is Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

GST stands for “Goods and Services Tax”, and is proposed to be a comprehensive indirect tax levy on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods as well as services at the national level. Its main objective is to consolidates all indirect tax levies into a single tax, except customs (excluding SAD) replacing multiple tax levies, overcoming the limitations of existing indirect tax structure, and creating efficiencies in tax administration.

Simply put, goods and services tax is a tax levied on goods and services imposed at each point of sale or rendering of service. Such GST could be on entire goods and services or there could be some exempted class of goods or services or a negative list of goods and services on which GST is not levied. GST is an indirect tax in lieu of tax on goods (excise) and tax on service (service tax). The GST is just like State level VAT which is levied as tax on sale of goods. GST will be a national level value added tax applicable on goods and services.

A major change in administering GST will be that the tax incidence is at the point of sale as against the present system of point of origin. According to the Task Force under the 13th Finance Commission, GST, as a well designed value added tax on all goods and services, is the most elegant method to eliminate distortions and to tax consumption.

One of the reasons to go the GST way is to facilitate seamless credit across the entire supply chain and across all States under a common tax base. It is a tax on goods and services, which will be levied at each point of sale or provision of service, in which at the time of sale of goods or providing the services the seller or service provider can claim the input credit of tax which he has paid while purchasing the goods or procuring the service. This is because they include GST in the price of the goods and services they sell and can claim credits for the most GST included in the price of goods and services they buy. The cost of GST is borne by the final consumer, who can’t claim GST credits, i.e. input credit of the tax paid.

Example: A product whose base price is ₹ 100 and after levying excise duty @ 12%value of the product is ₹ 112. On sale of such goods VAT is levied @ 12.5% and value to the ultimate consumer is ₹ 126. In the proposed GST system on base price of ₹ 100 CGST and SGST both will be charged, say @ 8% each, and then the value to the ultimate consumer is ₹ 116. So, in such a case the industry can better compete in global environment.

Therefore, GST is a broad based and a single comprehensive tax levied on goods and services consumed in an economy.

In particular, it would replace the following indirect taxes as these will be subsumed in the proposed GST:

At Central level

  • Central Excise Duty
  • Service Tax
  • Additional Excise Duties
  • CVD (levied on imports in lieu of Excise duty)
  • SAD (levied on imports in lieu of VAT)
  • Excise Duty levied on Medicinal and Toiletries preparations,
  • Surcharges and cesses
  • Central Sales Tax

At State level

VAT/Sales tax

Entertainment tax (unless it is levied by the local bodies)

Luxury Tax

Taxes on lottery, betting and gambling

Entry tax not in lieu of Octroi

Cesses and Surcharges

Taxes/Duties Likely to be subsumed in GST

Central Taxes/Levies

State Taxes/Levies

Central excise duty under Central Excise Act, 1944 Sales Tax/Value Added Tax (VAT)
Additional excise duties – Under Additional Duties of Excise (Goods of Special Importance Act, 1957 Entertainment tax
Excise Duty under Medicinal & Toiletries Preparation Act, 1955 State excise duty
Service Tax under Finance Act, 1994 Luxury tax
Additional Customs Duty (Countervailing Duty – CVD) Taxes on lottery, betting & gambling
Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD) Entry tax (not in lieu of Octroi)
Surcharges (e.g. national calamity contingent duty) Purchase tax
Cesses (e.g., Cess on rubber, Cess on tea etc) State Cesses
Central Sales tax (to be phased out) State Surcharges

Taxes/Duties not likely to be subsumed in GST

Central Taxes/Levies

State Taxes/Levies

Basic Customs Duty Taxes on Liquors
Excise Duty on Tobacco products Toll Tax/ Road Tax
Export Duty Environment Tax
Taxes on petroleum products Property Tax
Stamp Duties Purchase tax on food grains
Specific Central Cess like Oil Cess etc Taxes on motor spirit & high speed diesel
Tax on Consumption or Sale of Electricity – Not certain
Stamp Duty – Not certain

(To be continued…………

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  1. Mukul Gautam says:

    Sir i am request in easy and simple i give me full knowledge (basic and every aspect)

  2. Dhiman choudhury says:

    Sir, what will happen to those contractor who are under state govt. And what is the GST rate

  3. PRIYA SHUKLA says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    sir thank you for this gst knowledge

  5. Milin Keshani says:

    Thank you so much for this knowledge..

  6. Rakesh Kumar Choubey says:


  7. srikant says:

    Sir, Kindly elaborate in simply and easy way and how to calculate GST in different organisations.

  8. Srinivasulu says:

    Dear Sir,

    Please help me how to process for GST returns every month , on Input and output GST value. Details which is required to file the return.


  9. kumar says:


    I am a civil contractor and we provide food to our sub contractor workers and we charge Rs.80/- per day as per work order . but one of the auditor raise a quesition why did’t u charge GST on food amount.

    so pl clarify is it correct or not

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