Published Editorial

10 most used services and how Goods and Services Tax will impact them

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Kunal Chaudhary, Financial Express

The majority of services are presently taxed at the rate of fifteen percent including the Swatch Bharat and Krishi Kalyan Cess (KKC). The new four tier GST structure with five, twelve, eighteen and twenty eight per cent tax rates on the face seems to increase the tax incidence, especially since the bulk of services at taxed at the rate of eighteen percent.

Discussed below is the impact of GST on 10 most used services:

Your mobile bill: A three percent increase in the rate of tax under GST on telecommunication services is envisaged. There may be offsets of additional credits available against this increase in rate, but overall, an increase in the mobile bills is likely.

Insurance: The GST rate for insurance services has been kept at the standard rate of eighteen percent including for motor and health insurance policies, which is a three percent hike from the rate under the existing regime. There are some concessional slabs only in the case of life insurance policies.

Software: Currently, there is dual levy of service tax and VAT on sale of software, which may change under the GST regime, with only a single levy being charged on software, leading to a reduction in the gross tax on software.

Tax incidence on Cable and DTH services: is likely to reduce under the GST regime as entertainment tax levied by states will be subsumed under GST. Currently, these services attract an entertainment tax in states in the range of 10-30 per cent over and above the service tax levy of 15 per cent.

Movie tickets: Tax incidence on movie tickets is also likely to come down for the same reason of entertainment tax being subsumed under GST.

Hotel stay: Your vacations are likely to cost more in the new regime. Under GST, hotel room tariffs between 1,000 and 2,500 INR bracket will attract a twelve percent levy, this will be eighteen percent for tariffs in the range of 2,500 - 7,500 INR. Hotels with room rents above 7,500 INR will attract a twenty eight percent GST rate.

Air Travel: The new GST rates make economy air travel marginally cheaper due to reduction in the effective tax rate of 0.6 percent. However, business class airfare becomes more expensive by three to four percent.

Banking Services: Banking services become costlier as the current rate stands increased by three percent.

Radio taxi operator: Riding a radio cab may be cheaper in the new regime as the new GST rates are lower than the current service tax rate by a percentage point.

Eating out: Meals at a restaurant may become cheaper as the GST rate of twelve/ eighteen percent is lower than the current tax applied on food served in restaurants. In addition, restaurants are also eligible for credits of input taxes which was not available under the current regime.

With GST round the corner now, its real impact is to be known soon. It is also likely to soften within a few months once service providers are able to seamlessly obtain GST credits and pass on the benefits of GST to consumers.