The automobile industry has benefited positively from the introduction of GST. Before the GST era, there were a series of indirect costs and taxes attached to automobiles as every state had its own tax structure. Sales tax, road tax, sector tax, VAT, motor vehicle tax, etc., were all imposed. All of these have been subsumed in GST. In other words, with the introduction of GST and the unification of the taxes, automobile manufacturers/dealers now have to deal with only one indirect tax law.
In this article, we have analysed the impact of GST on the automobile industry.
GST has brought about significant reductions in the cost of operations. Central State Tax (CST) which was previously applicable on interstate sales, is now eliminated. Because of this, manufacturers do not need multiple warehouses in different locations. They can enjoy low operating costs by renting out warehouses. On the other hand, all taxes paid on promotions, advertising, and other overheads are eligible for Input Tax Credit (ITC).
Whenever a vehicle is transferred, GST must be paid immediately as this supply is taxable under GST. The dealer has to pay the full amount of GST on the day they receive an advance. Because of this, capital gets blocked.
In some cases, dealers offer free after-sale services and warranties to attract buyers who may or may not utilise them in the future. However, these dealers have to remit the GST on these services to the Government. This can lead to a cash lock which will affect the working capital of the dealers. These free goods/services were not taxed under the previous tax laws.
While operation costs may have reduced, the GST applicable on automobiles has increased.
2-Wheelers attract GST of 28% and a cess of 3%. That means the consumer ends up paying 31% of the value as tax.
Most of the commercial vehicles attract 28% GST. However, minibuses fall under the 15% cess slab. This inflates the total tax applicable to 43%.
Luxury cars having engine capacity of more than 1500cc attract 28% GST and 15% cess. That means 43% of the value will be payable as tax.
The tax payable on small cars* hasn’t changed as such. Previously, small car owners had to pay 29% as tax. Under the GST regime, these cars attract 28% GST and 1% cess and thus making the total tax payable – 29%.
*Here, small cars are those cars which have an engine capacity of less than 1200cc.
However, for cars with an engine capacity between 1200-1500 cc, the GST rate is 28%, and the rate of cess is 3%. This makes the total tax payable equal to 31%.
This section has been affected the most as the tax rate has increased to 28%, with an inflated 15% cess. Previously, hybrid cars were taxed at 30%.
Spare parts are now taxed at 28%. Previously, the rate of tax was 12%.
Overall, there has been a positive impact of GST on the automobile sector. Even with the varied tax rates, the reduced costs of operations are undeniably influencing the final product’s price.