As a precursor to the rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the government has approved renaming and restructuring of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the body for indirect taxes. “The Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) is being renamed as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC), after getting legislative approval,” a finance ministry release said. The proposed CBIC shall supervise the work of all its field formations and directorates and assist the government in policy making in relation to GST, continuing central excise levy and customs functions, it said.
The CBIC will have 21 zones, 101 GST taxpayer services commissionerates comprising 15 sub-commissionerates, 768 divisions, 3969 ranges, 49 audit commissionerates and 50 appeals commissionerates, the release said. The existing directorate general of systems and taxpayer services is also being strengthened. The directorate general of GST intelligence is also proposed to be strengthened to help check tax evasion. The existing training establishment will be renamed as National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics and will have an all-India presence to enable capacity building of the employees of the indirect tax administration of the Centre and state governments along with members of trade and industry.
The government is aiming to implement the indirect tax regime from July 1 this year, for which it intends to introduce four bills pertaining to GST in the ongoing session of Parliament. Subsequently, states will need to pass draft SGST laws in their respective assemblies. On March 20, the Union Cabinet had approved four supplementary GST bills necessary for rollout of the tax reform.
The GST Council, the governing body for decisions relating to the indirect tax reform headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is scheduled to meet next on March 31, following which the tax officials will begin work on fitment of goods and services into slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent. The constitutional amendment enabling rollout of the indirect tax regime was passed by Parliament in August last year following which it became an Act in September after ratification by 16 of the 31 state legislatures.
Aimed at removing inter-state barriers to trade and integrating India into one common market, the destination-based tax will subsume all central and state indirect taxes and levies, including excise duty, additional excise duties, service tax, additional customs duty, surcharges and cesses, VAT, sales tax, entertainment tax, central sales tax (levied by the Centre and collected by states), octroi, entry tax, purchase tax, luxury tax, and taxes on lottery, betting and gambling and is expected to add at least two percentage points to the country’s GDP growth.