According to Mr. Dev Bhushan Kalra,Chartered Accountant, author of book “Not Everything On G.S.T Just Definitions ”, the alcohol for human consumption has been kept out of the purview of Good Services Tax due to two major reasons. First, a constitutional amendment would be needed to be made for the same. Second, it is one of the most revenue generating activity in the States.
To understand the impact of GST on alcohol, we need to differentiate between the internal and the external factors that may drive the price of alcohol with the onset of GST. The internal factors are the supply chain and the existing laws that govern the manufacture and sale of alcohol. Since GST as on date has kept alcohol output out, hence the existing law provisions will apply. Thus no or little change would accrue as this is what is happening today (before GST).
What is interesting is that the inputs for the same are now in the purview. This is what the external factors are. Changes in the tax slab of raw materials, freight and the inadmissibility of input credits (thus leading to cascading effects of tax) may have a negative impact and push the price upward, as in GST the grunt of taxes is to be borne by the ultimate consumer.
The general intent of the government seems to dissuade people from consumption of alcohol but a rise in the prices may not hamper the demand much. We have the history of boot-legging of alcohol as a guiding proof. The rise in prices would also be made due to the impact of state taxes, if increased, as revenue from the same would be sort of a compensation to states for forgoing existing state-based tax levies on other goods. Thus, the price of alcohol even if not directly impacted by keeping alcohol out of GST, would be impacted by various other factors that would come into play.
Alcohol herein refers only to alcohol for human consumption, as industrial use alcohol lies within the gambit of GST.
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