GST Explained: How It Works and Why It Matters

In today’s globalised world, where businesses are interwoven across borders, ensuring a seamless taxation structure becomes imperative. Among the various tax structures around the world, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) stands out as a notable system that aims to bring uniformity in indirect taxation. It’s not just a tax; it’s a comprehensive reform of existing taxation structures. 

Here’s an exploration of GST – how GST works and its significance in modern economies.

Read on!

What is Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

The Goods and Services Tax is a value-added tax levied on goods and services sold for domestic consumption. It is a multi-stage tax, implying that it’s imposed at every step of the production process but is intended to be refunded to all parties at various stages of production other than the final consumer. Simply put, while the tax is paid at each stage, the final consumer of the product or service ultimately bears the cost.

How Does GST Work?

To grasp the nuances of this multi-stage taxation system, consider the following sequence:

Manufacturing Stage

When a product is manufactured, the raw materials are typically bought from various suppliers. GST is paid on these raw materials. When the manufacturer sells the finished product to, let’s say, a wholesaler, the price includes GST. However, the manufacturer can claim credits for the tax already paid on raw materials.

Wholesale Stage

The wholesaler, upon purchasing from the manufacturer, pays the Goods and Services Tax included in the price. When the wholesaler sells the product to a retailer, they again charge GST. But, similar to the manufacturer, the wholesaler can claim credits for the GST paid during the purchase.

Retail Stage

The retailer, after purchasing from the wholesaler, will sell the product to the final consumer with GST included in the selling price. However, the retailer, like the two stages before it, can claim credits for the GST paid during its purchase from the wholesaler.

This system ensures that tax is levied at every stage, but credits ensure that double taxation is avoided. The only person who cannot claim the GST credit is the final consumer. They bear the tax because they are the end-users or consumers of the product or service.

Advantage of GST

Given below are the advantages of GST:

  1. Unified Tax System: Replaces multiple state and central taxes with one single tax.
  2. Avoids Double Taxation: Tax is levied only on the value-added at each stage, preventing a tax-on-tax effect.
  3. Easier Compliance: A simplified tax structure means easier filing and documentation.
  4. Price Reduction: Potential reduction in product prices due to lower tax burdens.
  5. Boost to Economy: A streamlined tax system can attract foreign investments and boost domestic production.
  6. Transparent System: Consumers know exactly how much tax they pay on products.
  7. Increases Government Revenue: An efficient system reduces tax evasion, leading to better revenue collection.

Significance of GST: Why It Matters

Here are a few points that highlight the significance of GST in the country:

Uniform Tax Structure

One of the most significant advantages of goods & service tax is the creation of a uniform tax structure. Before its implementation in many countries, there were multiple indirect taxes, like sales tax, service tax, excise duty, and more. GST brings all these under a single umbrella, simplifying compliance and administration.

Removal of Cascading Tax Effect

GST’s design ensures that the tax is levied only on the value-added at each stage, eliminating the burden of tax-on-tax, which was prevalent in some previous tax regimes.

Increased Compliance and Revenue

A streamlined tax structure makes tax evasion harder and increases compliance. This, in turn, augments revenue collection for governments, which can be used for various infrastructural and developmental projects.

Greater Transparency

With GST, consumers know exactly how much tax they are paying on products and services. This transparency can lead to a more informed customer base and boost trust in the taxation system.

Enhanced Economic Growth

The seamless flow of tax credits can lead to a reduction in the cost of production, which can make domestically produced goods and services more competitive. Moreover, a simplified tax structure can attract foreign investments.

Improved Cooperative Federalism

In countries with federal structures, Goods & Services Tax often requires cooperation between the central and state governments. This collaboration can foster a sense of cooperative federalism, ensuring smoother governance.


GST, or the Goods and Services Tax, is more than just a tax reform; it’s a transformative tool that has the potential to streamline business operations, benefit consumers, and bolster government revenues. Its significance in modern economic structures cannot be overstated. By understanding how GST works, we can better appreciate its role in shaping economies and ensuring a more straightforward, efficient, and transparent taxation system.

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