Advantages of Value Added Tax (VAT)

In the advantages part we will first look after the broad coverage of VAT in the Indian market. Then we will consider the level of security the Indian VAT is having on our revenues. Obviously the selection of items to be covered by VAT in India will be given a bullet to think upon and at last we will check out the co-ordination VAT in India will be having with our existing direct tax system.

1) Coverage :

If the tax is carried through the retail level, it offers all the economic advantages of a tax that includes the entire retail price within its scope, at the same time the direct payment of the tax is spread out and over a large number of firms instead of being concentrated on particular groups, such as wholesalers or retailers.

If retailers do evade, tax will be lost only on their margins because customers that are registered firms gain nothing if their suppliers fail to collect tax, except delay in payment; they will pay more to the government themselves. Under other forms of sales tax, both seller and customer gain by evading tax. One particular advantage is that of the widening of the tax base by bringing all transactions into the tax net. Specifically, VAT gives the new government the opportunity to bring back into the tax system all those persons and entities who were given tax exemptions in one form or another by the previous regime.

2) Revenue security:

VAT represents an important instrument against tax evasion and is superior to a business tax or a sales tax from the point of view of revenue security for three reasons.

In the first place, under VAT it is only buyers at the final stage who have an interest in undervaluing their purchases, since the deduction system ensures that buyers at earlier stages will be refunded the taxes on their purchases. Therefore, tax losses due to undervaluation should be limited to the value added at the last stage. Under a retail sales tax, on the other hand, retailer and consumer have a mutual interest in underdeclaring the actual purchase price.

Secondly, under VAT, if payment of tax is successfully avoided at one stage nothing will be lost if it is picked up at a later stage; and even if it is not picked up subsequently, the government will at least have collected the VAT paid at stages previous to that at which the tax was avoided; while if evasion takes place at the final stage the state will lose only the tax on the value added at that point.

If evasion takes place under a sales tax, on the other hand, all the taxes due on the product are lost to the government. A significant advantage of the value added form in any country is the cross-audit feature. Tax charged by one firm is reported as a deduction by the firms buying from it. Only on the final sale to the consumer is there no possibility of cross audit.

3) Selectivity:

VAT may be selectively applied to specific goods or business entities. We have already addressed essential goods and small business. In addition the VAT does not burden capital goods because the consumption-type VAT provides a full credit for the tax included in purchases of capital goods. The credit does not subsidize the purchase of capital goods; it simply eliminates the tax that has been imposed on them.

4) Co-ordination of VAT with direct taxation:

Most taxpayers cheat on their sales not to evade VAT but to evade personal and corporate income taxes. The operation of a VAT resembles that of the income tax more than that of other taxes, and an effective VAT greatly aids income tax administration and revenue collection.

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