GST Simplified: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reverse Charge Mechanism for Informed Businesses

GST Simplified: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reverse Charge Mechanism for Informed Businesses

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Understanding the Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM) Under GST: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses 

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) system in India is designed to streamline and simplify the tax process. Typically, the responsibility for collecting and remitting GST falls on the supplier of goods or services. However, in certain situations, this responsibility shifts to the recipient. This is known as the Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM). Let’s dive into the intricacies of RCM, its legal provisions, and its implications for businesses. 

What is Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM)? 

The Reverse Charge Mechanism is a method under GST where the recipient of goods or services is liable to pay the tax instead of the supplier. This approach is particularly useful in scenarios where the supplier is unregistered, a non-resident, or involved in specific categories of supplies. RCM ensures the timely and accurate collection of GST, enhancing compliance among businesses. 

Legal Provisions Governing RCM 

Sections 9(3) and 9(4) of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017, outline the provisions for RCM: 

  • Section 9(3): Allows the government to specify categories of goods or services on which GST shall be paid on a reverse charge basis. 
  • Section 9(4): Initially mandated RCM on the supply of goods or services by an unregistered supplier to a registered person. This provision has since been modified to apply in specific circumstances. 

Goods and Services Notified for RCM under Section 9(3) of CGST Act 

The government has identified specific goods and services that fall under RCM. Here are some examples: 


  1. Unshelled or Unpeeled Cashew Nuts: Farmer to any registered individual. 
  1. Leaves for Bidi Wrappers: Farmer to any registered individual. 
  1. Tobacco Leaves: Farmer to any registered individual. 
  1. Silk Yarn: Producers of silk yarn to any registered individual. 
  1. Raw Cotton: Farmer to any registered individual. 
  1. Lottery Tickets: State Government/Union Territory/Local Authority to lottery distributors or selling agents. 
  1. Pre-owned Vehicles and Scrap: Central Government/State Government/Union Territory/Local Authority to any registered authority. 


  1. Services by Non-Taxable Territory Entities: Supplied to taxable territory entities. 
  1. Goods Transport Agencies (GTA): Supplied to factories, societies, cooperative societies, registered persons, body corporates, and partnership firms. 
  1. Legal Services: Provided by individual advocates or firms to business entities. 
  1. Arbitral Tribunal Services: Provided to business entities. 
  1. Sponsorship Services: Provided to corporate bodies or partnership firms. 
  1. Government Services: Excluding renting of immovable property, supplied to business entities. 

Applicability of RCM Under GST 

RCM covers various transactions, such as: 

  • Procurement of goods from unregistered suppliers. 
  • Import of services from non-resident service providers. 
  • Purchase of specific services like legal, accounting, or consulting from registered suppliers. 

Examples of Transactions Covered Under RCM 

To illustrate the application of RCM, consider these scenarios: 

  • Procurement from Unregistered Suppliers: A registered business purchasing raw materials from an unregistered supplier must pay GST under RCM. 
  • Import of Services: A company availing consulting services from a non-resident firm must pay GST under RCM. 
  • Specified Services: Businesses receiving legal services from individual advocates must pay GST under RCM. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of RCM 


  • Ensures timely collection of GST. 
  • Promotes compliance among suppliers and recipients. 
  • Simplifies the taxation process for certain transactions. 


  • Adds administrative burden on the recipient. 
  • Requires accurate calculation, payment, and reporting of GST. 
  • Non-compliance can lead to penalties. 

Compliance Requirements for Businesses under RCM 

Businesses must adhere to specific compliance requirements: 

  • Identify Transactions: Correctly identify transactions covered under RCM. 
  • Calculate GST Liability: Accurately calculate the GST due. 
  • Timely Payment: Ensure timely payment of GST to the government. 
  • Documentation: Maintain proper documentation and records. 
  • Reporting: Report RCM transactions in relevant GST returns. 

Failure to meet these requirements can result in legal consequences. 

Input Tax Credit (ITC) under RCM 

Businesses can claim Input Tax Credit (ITC) on GST paid under RCM, provided the goods or services are used for business operations. ITC cannot be claimed on purchases unrelated to business activities. Additionally, businesses under the Composition Scheme are not eligible for ITC. 

Time of Supply for RCM 

The timing for GST payment under RCM varies for goods and services: 


  • The day you receive the goods, or 
  • 30 days after the supplier issues their invoice – whichever is earlier 


  • The date you pay for the service, or 
  • 60 days after the supplier issues their invoice. – whichever is earlier