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The country’s toughest examination is about to change with the changing times. After a decade, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) which conducts the CA exam, has approached the ministry of corporate affairs to improve the curriculum, introduce new subjects, electives, and open book tests in a few papers.
In a complex world where tracking financial crimes calls for special skills like forensic audit and lower trade barriers along with free flow of capital emphasise the importance of transfer pricing rules, an updated course for CA students, it’s felt, could better prepare future Indian auditors, accountants, finance executives and CFOs.
“Globalisation,” said ICAI President M Devaraja Reddy, “has brought to the fore not only opportunities in areas of national and international financial reporting, taxation, finance and corporate laws but also challenges to the chartered accountancy profession.” The institute fs decision comes at a time the rules as well as the language of business are undergoing a change. Besides grasping the nuances of a new indirect tax regime like goods and services tax (GST), chartered accountants will have to master the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) . the new, uniform global accounting order that is aimed at comparing financial statements and books of companies across borders.
The institute has been conscious and proactive towards the ever-changing needs. We have proposed the revision of the curriculum after considering the views of various stakeholders. We are awaiting the views of the ministry, ICAI President M Devaraja Reddy said.
Every year about a lakh students take the exam and only 10,000 clear it.
Students planning to pursue CA as a profession may make a mental note of some of the changes that have been suggested by the institute:
The entry-level exam, according to the proposed changes, would become comparatively more stringent as examinees would have to answer subjective questions over and above the regular objective (or multiple-choice) questions.
Two new papers Business correspondence and reporting and Business and commercial knowledge will be introduced at the Foundation level while a new subject, Economics for financ e, will be included at the Intermediate level.
At the Final level, electives would be introduced as the eighth paper . wherein students will appear for an open-book examination to handle questions based on case studies. The electives offered include Risk Management, International Taxation, Financial Services and Capital Markets, Global Financial Reporting Standards, Economic Laws and Multi-Disciplinary Case.
The paper on Information system control and audit has been renamed as Information system risk management and audit which will be part of the Advanced integrated course on information technology and soft skills .
Instead of the current practice of registering for the CA course after clearing the Class 10 exam, it has been proposed that students will be allowed to register only after appearing for the Class 12 examination and can appear for the Foundation f exam following a four-month study period after passing the Class 12 examination. This may be aimed at helping students take a more matured and conscious decision and discourage private tutorials attracting students soon after leaving school.
Till now, students had to register for three years of practical training on passing Group I (set of papers) or both groups of the Intermediate examination. The institute has proposed that students may register for three years of practical training on passing either or both groups of the Intermediate examination.
As per the new programme, students going through the Foundation course will take roughly four-and-a-half years to become CAs while those qualifying for taking direct admission will take approximately three-and-a-half years. The institute will continue to allow students to appear for Final f exam in the last six months of practical training.
The story has been first published on ET.
In signs of fracture, the Centre and states on Friday disagreed on decisions reached at the first meeting of the on service tax assessment although they reached a consensus on area based exemption in the new tax regime. The second meeting of the all-powerful GST council, headed by finance minister , agreed on five subordinate legislations dealing with issues ranging from registration to invoicing under the new goods and service tax (GST) regime. It also agreed on the treatment of exemption from GST. Currently, the Centre gives exemption to 11 states mostly in northeast and hilly regions from excise duty as also many states give the same as incentive for setting up industry. The council decided that under GST, which will subsume excise duty and VAT among other levies, taxes will have to be collected and it can be reimbursed from the annual budgets to the exempted categories. But there were divisions over ratifying or approving the minutes of the first meeting of the council, held last week, after at least two states disagreed with what was documented as decided on the Centre's assessing 11 lakh service tax filers in the new dispensation. "Obviously the first item has to be approval of minutes of the last meeting. With regard to one item recorded in the minutes with regard to the service tax assessments in the new dispensation, there was a long discussion on the interpretation on the decision taken in the last meeting and that discussion consumed a lot of time today. "That discussion was inconclusive and therefore it will continue in the next meeting on 18th (October)," Jaitley told reporters. Non-ratification of even one item on the minutes means the whole minutes are not agreed. Initially, it was thought that the minutes should be put to vote as those objecting to them were far less than those agreeing but Jaitley wanted to take decisions with consensus and so it was postponed. Uttar Pradesh's minister for vocational education and skill development Abhishek Mishra said the minutes were not approved in entirety. The second meeting of the GST council finalised rules for registration, rules for payments, returns, refunds and invoices. With this as many as 6 issues have been settled by the council, that has representatives of all the states, in two meetings in a span of one week. Discussions on service tax assessment and the formula for calculating compensation to be paid to states in case of revenue shortfall as a result of implementation of the GST regime, possibly from April 1, 2017, would be taken up at the next meeting on October 18-20. It will also decide on the all important GST rate, Jaitley said, adding that the government is targeting November 22 for completing major work on deciding tax rate, exemptions and draft legislation by the council. There were two items regarding draft GST rules on agenda of today's , he said. "Now these rules are with regard to registration, rules for payments, return, refund and invoices. These rules are notified once the Act is passed... These 5 sets of rules were taken up for consideration and have been approved. So we are in a state of readiness with the subordinate legislation once the act itself is approved," he said. The rules approved will form part of the supporting legislations needed to rollout GST. "So once the act is passed by Parliament or by the state legislatures as the case may be, we want the draft rules to be ready so that the rules can be notified immediately," he said. Stating that the second item on agenda was treatment of existing tax incentives by the Centre, he said, has given some exemptions from excise duty to 11 northeast and hill states. Similarly, states too give out a series of incentives. "It is possible that some of the exemptions may get phased out. But for the exemptions which may remain how will these exemptions fit into the GST system. So the council took up for discussion the management of these exemptions. And it was agreed that there would be a levy of tax under the GST system on all exempted entities. "Once the tax is levied, the central govt or state government, which gets that tax, would then reimburse from the budget, that quantum of tax back to exempted entity," he said. Under the GST system, everybody will have to pay tax but those exempted would be entitled to be reimbursed the levy they pay. On the issue of service tax assessment, he said the central government's understanding is that an arrangement as been finalised for continuing with the existing system and transferring it to states when their officers are trained. On services that are taxed partly by the Centre and partly by states, he said experts will examine and report it in next meeting for a final decision. Asked if tax exemptions would be grandfathered, Jaitley said: "It is not necessary to grandfather everything but if you do grandfather it then the process of payment of tax and reimbursement, it will be like a direct benefit cash being returned. Today, we discussed the principle by which exemptions would be dealt with."
There will be a levy under the GST tax on exempted entities, he said.
"Once the tax is levied, the central government or the state government which gets that tax would then reimburse from the Budget that quantum of tax to the exempted entity.
"So you will have the GST system in operation where everybody has to pay the tax but if you are an exempted entity and the state or Centre decides to continue that exempted entity then they would be entitled to that amount being given back to them," he said, adding that the details in each case will be worked out.
Which exempted entities will remain or not will be decided by states and the Centre, he said, adding that states would have to decide on exempted entities as they will reimburse tax to them.
Jaitley said there were discussions on interpretation of service tax, division of authority between centre and states, but they were inconclusive.
"Now after this, two items remain. The rates would be the big item to discuss and then after we will go to draft rules of GST law," he added.
Explaining how the area-based exemptions would be doled out, Jaitley said the centre gives incentives to North Eastern states. But the tax that comes to the central kitty, 58 per cent belongs to Centre and 42 per cent is devolved to the states.
"Hence, we (Centre) will reimburse only 58 per cent. How the remaining 42 per cent will be reimbursed that arrangement has to be worked out. I can't get 58 per cent tax and reimburse 100 per cent," he said.
The 14th Finance Commission in its report has scaled up devolution to states from the central pool of taxes to 42 per cent from 32 per cent.
"We are trying to build every decision through consensus. And as far as possible there is no voting because in that way federal spirit is maintained. Wherever possible dissent should not arise and wherever there is dissent it should be taken up in next meeting," Jaitley said.
Asked how the supply contracts, where both goods and services components are there, would be taxed in the GST regime, revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that has been referred to the officers committee.
"So the question is what happens to those kind of cases where there is both goods and services. Now it will become supply contracts. Now the officers committee will look into this and come back to GST council," Adhia said.
During the first four months of this fiscal (April-July), at least 145 Income Tax (I-T) raids have been conducted with more than Rs 245 crore unaccounted cash (black money) seized. The total undisclosed income admitted during these raids has been an unprecedented Rs 3,375 crore, excluding the cash and jewellery seizures.
According to top I-T officials, the I-T department's strategy to increase search and seizure operations against suspect evaders has been successful and the cash seizures have been an all-time high, most of it has been netted from leading educational institutions and builders in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi among other cities.
During the first four months of 2016, at least 145 I-T raids unearthed unaccounted income and cash worth Rs 3,375 crore as against Rs 2,252 crore in the first four months of 2015.
As against Rs 76 crore of cash seized last year during the four months, the department managed to lay their hands on over Rs 245 crore this year during April-July. Seizure of jewellery accounted for Rs 85 crore as against Rs 21 crore last year.
The I-T department is also working on at least 90 lakh high-value transactions which have not been declared by people in their tax returns. These high-value transactions include multiple cash deposits of more than Rs 10 lakh each in bank accounts, and property purchase in excess of Rs 30 lakh. The I-T department has identified at least 7 lakh such high-risk individuals who have been put under scanner and their travel details and business operations are being investigated.
The I-T department has prepared a new unified data bank of these suspect black money holders across the country, particularly those who have taken help of 'entry operators' to launder huge unaccounted cash through the banking channels over the past few years.
A country-wide massive identification drive of these tax evaders has been launched involving around 800-1,000 supervisory officers of the ranks of commissioners and above to 'force' disclosures of black money under the Income Declaration Scheme launched by the government on June 1. The four-month window will remain available till September 30.
The entry operators are chartered accountants or middlemen who launder money on behalf of their clients by operating multiple bank accounts and companies. These intermediaries provide cheques to beneficiaries against cash deposits in their accounts and raise bogus bills for a commission of 1-2%.
Originally Published in the Times Of India.
Imagine a manufacturer of, say, shirts. He buys raw material or inputs — cloth, thread, buttons, tailoring equipment — worth Rs 100, a sum that includes a tax of Rs 10. With these raw materials, he manufactures a shirt.
In the process of creating the shirt, the manufacturer adds value to the materials he started out with. Let us take this value added by him to be Rs 30. The gross value of his good would, then, be Rs 100 + 30, or Rs 130.
At a tax rate of 10%, the tax on output (this shirt) will then be Rs 13. But under GST, he can set off this tax (Rs 13) against the tax he has already paid on raw material/inputs (Rs 10). Therefore, the effective GST incidence on the manufacturer is only Rs 3 (13 – 10).
The next stage is that of the good passing from the manufacturer to the wholesaler. The wholesaler purchases it for Rs 130, and adds on value (which is basically his ‘margin’) of, say, Rs 20. The gross value of the good he sells would then be Rs 130 + 20 — or a total of Rs 150. A 10% tax on this amount will be Rs 15. But again, under GST, he can set off the tax on his output (Rs 15) against the tax on his purchased good from the manufacturer (Rs 13). Thus, the effective GST incidence on the wholesaler is only Rs 2 (15 – 13).
In the final stage, a retailer buys the shirt from the wholesaler. To his purchase price of Rs 150, he adds value, or margin, of, say, Rs 10. The gross value of what he sells, therefore, goes up to Rs 150 + 10, or Rs 160. The tax on this, at 10%, will be Rs 16. But by setting off this tax (Rs 16) against the tax on his purchase from the wholesaler (Rs 15), the retailer brings down the effective GST incidence on himself to Re 1 (16 –15). Thus, the total GST on the entire value chain from the raw material/input suppliers (who can claim no tax credit since they haven’t purchased anything themselves) through the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer is, Rs 10 + 3 +2 + 1, or Rs 16.
In a full non-GST system, there is a cascading burden of “tax on tax”, as there are no set-offs for taxes paid on inputs or on previous purchases.
Thus, if we consider the same example as above, the manufacturer buys raw materials/inputs at Rs 100 after paying tax of Rs 10. The gross value of the shirt (good) he manufacturers would be Rs 130, on which he pays a tax of Rs 13. But since there is no set-off against the Rs 10 he has already paid as tax on raw materials/inputs, the good is sold to the wholesaler at Rs 143 (130 + 13).
With the wholesaler adding value of Rs 20, the gross value of the good sold by him is, then, Rs 163. On this, the tax of Rs 16.30 (at 10%) takes the sale value of the good to Rs 179.30. The wholesaler, again, cannot set off the tax on the sale of his good against the tax paid on his purchase from the manufacturer.
The retailer, thus, buys the good at Rs 179.30, and sells it at a gross value of Rs 208.23, which includes his value addition of Rs 10 and a tax of Rs 18.93 (at 10% of Rs 179.30). Again, there is no mechanism for setting off the tax on the retailer’s sale against the tax paid on his previous purchase.
The total tax on the chain from the raw material/input suppliers to the final retailer in this full no-GST regime will, thus, work out to Rs 10 + 13 + 16.30 + 18.93 = Rs 58.23. For the final consumer, the price of the good would then be Rs 150 + 58.23 = Rs 208.23.
Compare this Rs 208.23 — with a tax of Rs 58.23 — to the final price of Rs 166, which includes a total tax of Rs 16, under GST.
Currently, we have Value-Added Tax (VAT) systems both at the central and state levels. But the central VAT or CENVAT mechanism extends tax set-offs only against central excise duty and service tax paid up to the level of production. CENVAT does not extend to value addition by the distributive trade below the stage of manufacturing; even manufacturers cannot claim set-off against other central taxes such as additional excise duty and surcharge.
Likewise, state VATs cover only sales. Sellers can claim credit only against VAT paid on previous purchases. The VAT also does not subsume a host of other taxes imposed within the states such as luxury and entertainment tax, octroi, etc.
Once GST comes into effect, all central- and state-level taxes and levies on all goods and services will be subsumed within an integrated tax having two components: a central GST and a state GST.
This will ensure a complete, comprehensive and continuous mechanism of tax credits. Under it, there will be tax only on value addition at each stage, with the producer/seller at every stage able to set off his taxes against the central/state GST paid on his purchases. The end-consumer will bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain, with set-off benefits at all the previous stages.
What will the Bill in Parliament today do?
It basically seeks to amends the Constitution to empower both the Centre and the states to levy GST. This they cannot do now, because the Centre cannot impose any tax on goods beyond manufacturing (Excise) or primary import (Customs) stage, while states do not have the power to tax services. The proposed GST would subsume various central (Excise Duty, Additional Excise Duty, service tax, Countervailing or Additional Customs Duty, Special Additional Duty of Customs, etc.), as well as state-level indirect taxes (VAT/sales tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, luxury tax, octroi, entry tax, etc). Once the Bill is passed, there will only be a national-level central GST and a state-level GST spanning the entire value chain for all goods and services, with some exemptions.
Central taxes That The GST will replace
# Central Excise Duty
# Duties of Excise (medicinal and toilet preparations)
# Additional Duties of Excise (goodsof special importance)
# Additional Duties of Excise (textiles and textile products)
# Additional Duties of Customs (commonly known as CVD)
# Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD)
# Service Tax
# Cesses and surcharges in so far as they relate to supply of goods or services
State taxes That The GST will Subsume
# State VAT
# Central Sales Tax
# Purchase Tax
# Luxury Tax
# Entry Tax (all forms)
# Entertainment Tax (not levied by local bodies)
# Taxes on advertisements
# Taxes on lotteries, betting and gambling
# State cesses and surcharges
The GST Council
WILL CONSIST of the union Finance Minister (chairman) and MoS in charge of Revenue; Minister in charge of Finance or Taxation, or any other Minister, nominated by each state
DECISIONS WILL be made by three-fourths majority of votes cast; Centre shall have a third of votes cast, states shall together have two-thirds
MECHANISM for resolving disputes arising out of its recommendations may be decided by the Council itself
The levy of GST
BOTH Parliament, state Houses will have the power to make laws on the taxation of goods and services
PARLIAMENT’S LAW will not override a state law on GST
EXCLUSIVE POWER to Centre to levy, collect GST in the course of interstate trade or commerce, or imports. This will be known as Integrated GST (IGST)
CENTRAL LAW will prescribe manner of sharing of IGST between Centre and states, based on GST Council’s views
What’s Out of GST…
Alcoholic liquor for human consumption Petroleum crude, high speed diesel, motor spirit (petrol), natural gas and aviation turbine fuel — GST Council will decide until when
… AND What’s In
Tobacco, tobacco products. Centre may impose excise duty on tobacco
Budget 2006-07: GST by April 1, 2010, announced. Subsequently, Empowered Committee (EC) of state Finance Ministers tasked with drawing up roadmap and design
April 2008: EC, headed by the then West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta, submits report to the central government, which offers its views and comments in October and December of that year. Joint working groups are then set up to examine options on exemptions and thresholds, taxation of services and inter-state supplies, etc
November 2009: EC releases its First Discussion Paper
March 22, 2011: The Constitution (115th Amendment) Bill is introduced in Lok Sabha; is referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, which submitted its report on August 7, 2013. Bill lapsed as term of the Lok Sabha ended in 2014
December 19, 2014: Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill introduced in Lok Sabha
May 6, 2015: Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Lok Sabha
May 12, 2015: Bill referred to a 21-member Select Committee of Rajya Sabha headed by Bhupender Yadav
July 22, 2015: Select Committee submits its report
Monsoon and Winter Sessions 2015, Budget Session 2016: Bill not tabled in the face of opposition led by the Congress and persistence of sticking points
The President shall constitute the GST Council
The GST Council shall make recommendations on:
# Taxes to be subsumed
# Model GST laws, Principles of Levy, etc.
# Threshold for exemption
# Rates, including floor and bands
# Special rate/rates for specified period
# Date from which GST to be levied on crude, high speed diesel, natural gas, aviation turbine fuel and petrol
# Special provisions for the Northeast, J&K, etc.
Parliament will have to pass legislation on central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST)
All 29 states and 9 UTs will have to pass their state GST (SGST) Acts
Dates of implementation of CGST, SGST and IGST have to be negotiated and synchronised
BIGGEST BENEFIT is that it will disincentivise tax evasion. If you don’t pay tax on what you sell, you don’t get credit for taxes on your inputs. Also, you will buy only from those who have already paid taxes on what they are supplying. Result: a lot of currently underground transactions will come overground.
LOWER TAX RATES will follow from GST covering all goods and services, with tax only on value addition and set-offs against taxes on inputs/previous purchases. Right now, we have more tax on fewer items; with GST, there will be less tax on more items. Ideally, no good or service should be tax-exempt, as this will break the input tax chain.
Source: Indian Express