Ashish K Nainan, Research Analyst – Industry Research, CARE Ratings
The changes are yet to take place for the larger cement industry in terms of the tax-slab and incidence of GST on cement (at 28 per cent vs expectation of 18 per cent). But the industry has been buoyed by the demand from infrastructure and affordable housing. The renewed demand has seemed to ward of some of the challenges of GST. Interestingly, the Government has been instrumental in creating the renewed demand because of their focus on infrastructure and real-estate development.
Real estate and infrastructure are significant in supporting growth of the economy, and are major employment generators in our economy. The present NDA government too has been focused on providing stimulus to infrastructure and real estate. Tax slab rejig would be considered a positive and enabling step from the government.
Tax compliance is not a choice anymore. They will have to be compliant if they want to cater to institutions like EPC companies, real-estate developers and government agency since these companies need to avail input tax credit. Interestingly, GST has brought awareness among retail consumers too. It is hence a matter of time, before majority of these industries become organised and become tax compliant.
Marble and granite industry too would follow trends in ceramic industry. Products with granite and marble industry are taxed at two separate tax slabs (18 per cent and 28 per cent). Bringing them under same tax slab would increase compliance and would also improve the ease-of-filing for these companies.
Broadly, the incidence of GST on infrastructure sector has been higher at 18 per cent than the previous tax regime (approximately 12-16 per cent). But input tax credit offers the much needed respite bringing down the overall tax incidence. Issues related to inverted tax structure in EPC contracts and ease in refunds need to be streamlined. These are some of the major hurdles or issues. Yet to come across any insight on input tax credits and overall tax incidence.