Goods and Services Tax (GST), the much heralded tax reform in India has great expectations on its beneficial impact on the economy. On July 1, 2017, Government of India finally rolled out GST, seventeen years after it was first proposed. With an objective of eliminating cascading effect of plethora of indirect taxes on goods and services, it is being seen as one the most important economic reforms in the country. More than 150 countries across the globe has adopted a system of single tax on consumption. Though it was met with initial teething problems, the outcome is mostly positive. Four months into GST, Indian businesses are yet to come in terms with the paradigm shift to a more transparent indirect tax system. Challenges w.r.t understanding the intricacies of the tax law, implementation issues, transition issues, rationale of some of the provisions are being raised. The authorities are fire fighting with amendments and revisions. This paper is an attempt to understand the architecture of GST, its challenges, and proposed benefits to the consumers and economy at large. The paper also looks at the indirect tax regime of some other countries and lessons for India.
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Author: Dr. Jyoti Nair