Value Added Tax

Value Added Tax is a broad-based commodity tax that is levied at multiple stages of production. The concept is akin to excise duty paid by the manufacturer who, in turn, claims a credit on input taxes paid. Excise duty is on manufacture, while VAT is on sale and both work in the same manner, according to the white paper on VAT released by finance minister Chidambaram. The document was drawn up after all states, barring UP, were prepared to implement VAT from April. It is usually intended to be a tax on consumption, hence the provision of a mechanism enabling producers to offset the tax they have paid on their inputs against that charged on their sales of goods and services. Under VAT revenue is collected throughout the production process without distorting any production decisions.

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