What is IGST: Integrated Goods and Services Tax

When Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced in July 2017, it aimed to merge various indirect taxes into one to make things simpler for both buyers and sellers. India has different levels of government, so it was hard to have just one tax. For that reason, we have three types of GST: Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST), State Goods and Services Tax (SGST), and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST). 

These cover different types of transactions and taxes. IGST is charged when goods or services move between states. Overall, GST helps streamline the tax system and make it easier to understand and manage. In this article, we’ll unravel the mysteries surrounding IGST in simple terms its significance and implications. 

What is Integrated Goods and Services Tax?

Integrated Goods and Services Tax is a type of indirect tax imposed by the Indian government on interstate supply of goods and services.  

In simple words, IGST is the tax imposed on the supply of goods and services between different states or union territories in India. 

Unlike Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and State Goods and Services Tax (SGST), which are levied on intra-state transactions, while IGST is applicable to inter-state transactions. 

How does Integrated Goods and Services Tax work?

For example, a manufacturer in Maharashtra sells goods to a retailer in Tamil Nadu. Since this transaction involves movement of goods from one state (Maharashtra) to another state (Tamil Nadu), IGST comes into play. The manufacturer will charge IGST on the sale of goods to the retailer in Tamil Nadu. 

Now, the retailer in Tamil Nadu can claim credit for the IGST paid while selling the goods in Tamil Nadu or using them in his business. 

This ensures that tax is paid only once, either in the state of origin or the state of consumption, thus avoiding double taxation and promoting seamless movement of goods and services across state borders within India. 

Which state will receive the tax revenue on IGST?

In the context of Integrated Goods and Services Tax in India, the state that receives the tax revenue depends on the destination principle. According to this principle, the tax revenue generated through IGST is received by the state where the goods or services are consumed, rather than where they are produced. Overall, the destination principle under IGST ensures that tax revenue aligns with the location of consumption, contributing to a fair and efficient taxation system across India. 

For example, if goods are manufactured in Maharashtra but consumed in Tamil Nadu, the tax revenue collected through IGST will go to Tamil Nadu, the consuming state. This principle ensures that states where consumption occurs benefit from the tax revenue, promoting economic integration and equitable distribution of resources among states. 

What are the key features of IGST?

  • Single Tax:
    • IGST replaces the earlier system of Central Sales Tax (CST) and Additional Customs Duty (ACD) on inter-state transactions, streamlining the taxation process by introducing a single tax mechanism. 
  • Input Tax Credit (ITC):
    • Businesses can claim credit for the IGST paid on inputs used in the production or provision of goods and services. This prevents taxes from piling up on top of each other and makes sure that credits can move smoothly along the supply chain. 
  • Destination-Based Taxation:
    • IGST follows a destination-based taxation principle, meaning the tax revenue is collected by the state where the goods or services are consumed, rather than where they are produced. 
  • Digital Infrastructure:
    • To facilitate the smooth implementation of IGST, a robust digital infrastructure, including the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), has been established, enabling online registration, filing of returns, and payment of taxes. 

What are the benefits of IGST?

  • Elimination of Cascading Effect:
    • By allowing businesses to claim input tax credit, IGST prevents the cascading effect of taxes, wherein taxes are levied on taxes, leading to higher costs for consumers. 
  • Uniform Taxation:
    • IGST ensures uniformity in taxation across states, promoting economic integration and reducing compliance burden for businesses operating in multiple states. 
  • Promotes Trade:
    • By simplifying the tax structure and reducing barriers to inter-state trade, IGST fosters economic growth and enhances competitiveness in the domestic market. 
  • Challenges and Concerns:
    • While IGST offers several benefits, its implementation has also faced challenges such as: 
  • Compliance Burden:
    • Adapting to the new tax regime and complying with the complex filing requirements can be burdensome for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 
  • Interstate Disputes:
    • Resolving disputes related to the apportionment of IGST revenue between the central and state governments can pose challenges and lead to delays in revenue sharing. 


In conclusion, Integrated Goods and Services Tax plays a crucial role in the Indian taxation system, especially concerning inter-state transactions. By simplifying the tax structure, promoting uniformity, and facilitating seamless credit flow, IGST aims to create a conducive environment for trade and economic growth. 

While challenges exist, ongoing efforts to streamline processes and address concerns are essential for maximizing the benefits of IGST and ensuring its effectiveness in driving India’s economic development. 

1. What is Integrated Goods and Services Tax?

Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) is a tax levied on the supply of goods and services between different states or Union territories in India. The IGST is governed by the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act of 2017.

2. When is IGST applicable?

IGST is applicable when goods or services are supplied from one state/UT to another state/UT, or when goods are imported into India. It is levied in addition to the CGST and SGST/Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (UTGST).

3. How is IGST calculated? 

IGST is calculated as a combination of CGST and SGST/UTGST rates applicable in the destination state/UT.  
For example, if the CGST rate is 9% and the SGST/UTGST rate is 9% in the destination state/UT, the IGST rate would be 18%.

4. Who is liable to pay IGST?

The supplier of goods or services is liable to pay IGST when the supply is made from one state/UT to another or when goods are imported into India. The recipient pays IGST to the supplier, who then remits it to the government.

5. What are the advantages of IGST?

One of the main advantages of IGST is seamless tax credit across states, as it eliminates the need for multiple taxes and complexities associated with interstate transactions. It also promotes uniformity in tax rates and administration, simplifying compliance for businesses engaged in interstate trade. 

6. Who collects the Integrated Goods and Services Tax?

Under IGST, the entity in charge of collecting taxes is the Central Government. Once the taxes are collected, the Central Government distributes them among the respective states. 

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