History of GST
In 1954, France was the first country to introduce “Goods and Services Tax” popularly known as GST followed by Japan, South Korea, UK and Australia. Since then 160 countries have embraced GST, INDIA being the latest addition from 1st of July 2017. The idea of one tax structure was conceptualized by one German Businessman, Mr. Wilhelm von Siemens in 1920’s.
There are many models of GST which are based on the structure and type of prevailing governments in that country. India has adopted Dual rate GST model which was first started and adopted by Canada in 1991. The most crucial aspect of this tax regime is the different rates of GST that prevails on the various categories of products. European countries have implemented one rate of G & S Tax because they hardly have poor families, unlike India, where people cannot be charged with the same tax as the opulent. The GST Council of India has approved a four-rate tax structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent.
Impact on Healthcare & Pharmaceutical sector
The decision of the GST Council to exempt healthcare and diagnostics from GST has been appreciated and welcomed by the Industry insiders and end consumers. The horde of like excise duty at the time of manufacturing, central sales tax, additional duties of custom on imports, service tax on proliferated services and other charges of the states used to burden health care, which ultimately burdened the consumer with heavy bills.
The major impacts:-
- Healthcare services rendered by a clinical organization, medical practitioner or paramedics are exempted
- Services provided by way of transportation of a patient in an ambulance when undertaken to restore or to reconstruct anatomy or functions of body affected due to congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, injury or trauma are also exempted.
- MRI GST has now slotted life-saving drugs for Diabetes, Malaria, TB, HIV-AIDS compulsorily under the 5% slab, while categorizing formulations into the 12 percent slab (up from nine percent).
- Medical furniture such as beds, dentist’s chair and operating table etc. will be charged at 18% slab of GST
- Diagnostics has been put in 18% and 12% tax slabs; it was 16% prior to GST
- Some medicines have become more expensive under the GST regime, the cost of (Magnetic resonance imaging) and X-rays may increase marginally
- Medical tourism generates extra revenue for Healthcare industry; it has grown from $334 million in 2004 to $2 billion this year. With the implementation of GST, medical tourism is also projected to grow manifold due to exemption.
- Under the new GST regime the outsourced services, aesthetics and outpatient pharmacies are subject to GST imposition
- The increase in tax on most finished drug formulations is only 1.8 percent, and companies are likely to absorb the additional burden
- Currently, 5 percent of the country’s GDP is expended on the Healthcare sector. The healthcare sector is expected to touch $150 billion by end of 2017, from $80 billion in the year 2012 due to the introduction of GST.
It is well anticipated that GST would have a beneficial effect on the Healthcare Industry particularly the pharma sector. This is going to help the industry by restructuring the taxation structure as 8 different types of taxes are currently imposed on the Pharmaceutical Industry today. The merger of all the taxes into one uniform tax will ease the way of doing business in the country, as well as minimizing the cascading effects of manifold taxes that is applied to one product.
To sum up the impact of GST on the Healthcare segment is still unknown & unspecified. However, the Industry specialists have confidence that post implementation of GST customers and industry players will be in a win-win situation. The Healthcare Industry would certainly gain from the GST execution as it would diminish the intricacies and various obstacles to the growth of business. Healthcare sector including the medical tourism is on the way of expanded profitability.
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