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Value Added Tax (VAT)

India, particularly being a trading community, has always believed in accepting and adopting loopholes in any system administered by State or Centre. If a well-administered system comes in, it will not only close options for traders and businessmen to evade paying their taxes, but also make sure that they’ll be compelled to keep proper records of sales and purchases.

Under the VAT system, no exemptions are given and a tax will be levied at every stage of manufacture of a product. At every stage of value-addition, the tax that is levied on the inputs can be claimed back from tax authorities.

Advantages of VAT

  • Coverage – If the tax is considered on a retail level, it offers all the economic advantages of a tax of the entire retail price within its scope. The direct payment of tax spreads out over a large number of firms instead of being concentrated only on particular groups, such as wholesalers & retailers.
  • Revenue Security – Under VAT only buyers at the final stage have an interest in undervaluing their purchases, as the deduction system ensures that buyers at earlier stages are refunded the taxes on their purchases. Therefore, tax losses due to undervaluation will be limited to the value added at the last stage.

    Secondly, under VAT, if the payment of tax is avoided at one stage nothing will be lost if it is picked up at later stage. Even if it is not picked up later, the government will at least have collected the VAT paid at previous stages. Where as if evasion takes place at the final/last stage the state will lose only tax on the value added at that particular point.

  • Selectivity – VAT is selectively applied to specific goods & business entities. In addition, VAT does not burden capital goods because of the consumption-type. VAT gives full credit for tax included on purchases of capital goods.
  • Co-ordination of VAT with direct taxation – Most taxpayers cheat on sales not to evade VAT but to evade their personal and corporate income taxes. Operation of VAT resembles that of the income tax and an effective VAT greatly helps in income tax administration and revenue collection.