The Central Government in the last three General Budgets viz 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 has gradually abolished various cesses on goods and services in order to prepare the ground for smooth roll- out of Goods and Service Tax (GST) from 1st July, 2017. The Central Government has taken this step in stages by abolishing various cesses so that it is easier to fit in various goods and services in different tax slabs for GST.
The Central Government in its General Budget 2015-16 had abolished Education Cess, including Secondary and Higher Education Cess on taxable services, and exempted Education Cess on excisable goods as well as Secondary and Higher Education Cess on excisable goods.
In its General Budget 2016-17, the Central Government abolished cess on cement, strawboard, three cesses including cess on Iron Ore Mines, Manganese Ore Mines and Chrome Ore Mines by amending Labour Welfare Cess Act, 1976, Tobacco cess by amending the Tobacco Cess Act 1975, and Cine Workers Welfare Cess by amending the Cine Workers’ Welfare Cess Act 1981 among others.
In its General Budget 2017-18, the Central Government abolished Research and Development cess by amending the Research and Development Cess Act.
Through Taxation Laws Amendment Act 2017, the following cesses are abolished. However, the date of the implementation will coincide with the date of the GST roll-out:
i) The Rubber Act 1947 – Cess on Rubber
ii) The Industries (Development and Regulation) Act 1951 – Cess on Automobile
iii) The Tea Act 1953 – Cess on Tea
iv) The Coal Mines (Conservation and Development) Act, 1974 – Cess on Coal
v) The Beedi Workers’ Welfare Cess Act 1971 – Cess on Beedis
vi) The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act 1977 – Cess levied on Water consumed by certain industries and by local authorities.
vii) The Sugar Cess Act 1982, the Sugar Development Fund Act 1982 – Cess on Sugar
viii) The Jute Manufacturers Cess Act 1983 – Cess on Jute Goods manufactured or produced or in part of Jute.
ix) The Finance (2) Act 2004 – Education Cess on Excisable Goods
x) The Finance Act, 2007 – Secondary and Higher Education Cess on Excisable Goods
xi) The Finance Act 2010 – Clean Energy Cess
xii) The Finance Act 2015 – Swachh Bharat Cess
xiii) The Finance Act 2016 – Infrastructure Cess and Krishi Kalyan Cess
However, the following cesses will continue to be levied under the GST regime since they pertain to customs or goods which are not covered under the GST regime:
i) The Finance (2) Act 2004 – Education Cess on Imported Goods
ii) The Finance Act, 2007 – Secondary and Higher Education Cess on Imported Goods
iii) Cess on Crude Petroleum Oil under the Oil Industry Development Act, 1974
iv) Additional Duty of Excise on Motor Spirit (Road Cess)
v) Additional Duty of Excise on High Speed Diesel Oil (Road Cess)
vi) Special Additional Duty of Excise on Motor Spirit
vii) NCCD on Tobacco and Tobacco Products and Crude Petroleum Oil.