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What is Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM) under GST?


Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM) under GST

A Reverse Charge Mechanism is a provision introduced under the GST regime to address certain specific transactions where the supplier is not liable to pay GST. Instead, the recipient of goods or services becomes liable for paying taxes directly to the government. This mechanism is applicable in cases where either the supplier is unregistered under GST or the nature of the supply falls under the specified categories notified by the government.

Latest Updates from the 50th GST Council Meeting

On July 11th, 2023, the 50th GST Council meeting witnessed some crucial decisions concerning the reverse-charge mechanism (RCM) under GST. The Council’s deliberations resulted in the following key resolutions:

  1. Taxability of Supply of Raw Cotton by Agriculturists to Cooperatives: The supply of raw cotton, including kala cotton, by agriculturists to cooperatives will now be subject to taxation under the reverse-charge mechanism. This decision aims to clarify the tax treatment of such transactions and ensure compliance within the agricultural sector.
  2. Exemption for Services Provided by Directors to Companies: Services provided by a company’s director in their personal or private capacity will no longer be taxable under the reverse-charge mechanism. This exemption is a relief for directors and companies, streamlining the tax implications associated with such services.

It’s important to note that these decisions will come into effect once they are officially notified by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). Businesses and stakeholders should stay vigilant for official notifications and adapt their operations accordingly to maintain compliance with the revised GST regulations.

Understanding the Concept of RCM

The Reverse Charge Mechanism operates on the fundamental principle of tax liability reversal. It was introduced to address specific transactions where the supplier might be exempted from GST registration or where the supplier is not present in the taxable territory. RCM is implemented to ensure that tax evasion is minimized and the government can collect taxes effectively.

Registration Rules under Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM)

As per Section 24 of the CGST Act, 2017, individuals or entities liable to pay GST under the reverse charge mechanism (RCM) are mandated to register compulsorily under the GST regime. The usual threshold limits of Rs. 20 lakhs or Rs. 40 lakhs, as applicable, do not apply to such entities under RCM.

Who Should Pay GST Payment under Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM)?

Under the Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM), the obligation to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) lies with the recipient of goods or services. However, it is important to note that as per the provisions of the GST law, the person supplying the goods must explicitly mention in the tax invoice whether the tax is payable under RCM. This clarity ensures proper compliance with the GST regulations.

Points to Consider for GST Payments under RCM

When making GST payments under the Reverse Charge Mechanism, several crucial points should be taken into account:

  1. Input Tax Credit (ITC) Eligibility: The recipient of goods or services can claim Input Tax Credit on the tax amount paid under RCM only if such goods or services are used for business purposes or furtherance of business activities. This provision encourages the legitimate use of ITC and prevents misuse.
  2. Taxation for Composition Dealers: The tax liability under RCM must be discharged at the normal GST rates and not at the composition rates applicable to them. Additionally, composition dealers are ineligible to claim any input tax credit for the tax paid under RCM. This distinction ensures appropriate taxation for different categories of taxpayers.
  3. GST Compensation Cess: It is important to know that the GST compensation cess may apply to the tax payable or already paid under the Reverse Charge Mechanism. Properly accounting for this cess is essential to calculate the overall tax liability and maintain GST compliance accurately.

Comparing Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM) with Normal Charge under GST:

Aspect Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM) Normal Charge
Tax Liability The liability to pay GST is shifted to the recipient of goods/services. The supplier of goods/services is liable to pay GST.
Applicability Applicable in specific scenarios as notified by the government or for certain goods/services. Applicable to most regular transactions.
Registered Dealers The recipient may or may not be a registered dealer. The supplier must be a registered dealer.
GSTIN Requirement The recipient needs to have a valid GSTIN. The supplier must have a valid GSTIN.
Tax Payment The recipient pays the GST directly to the government. The supplier collects GST from the recipient and pays it to the government.
Invoicing The invoice should indicate that the tax is payable by the recipient (RCM applicable). The invoice issued by the supplier includes the applicable GST amount.
Input Tax Credit (ITC) The recipient can claim Input Tax Credit for the GST paid under RCM. The supplier can claim Input Tax Credit for the GST paid on inputs.
Compliance Responsibility The recipient is responsible for compliance, including filing returns. The supplier is responsible for compliance, including filing returns.
Cash Flow Impact This may impact the cash flow of the recipient as tax is paid upfront. It may not directly impact the supplier’s cash flow as they collect GST from the recipient.
Examples Import of specific goods and services from an unregistered dealer. Regular sale of goods/services by a registered supplier.

Applicability of RCM

RCM is primarily applicable in the following scenarios:

1. Import of Goods and Services: When a registered business entity imports goods or services from overseas, they must pay GST under RCM. This ensures that the tax liability does not evade the taxation net.

2. Purchase from Unregistered Dealers: If a registered business purchases goods or services from an unregistered dealer, paying GST shifts to the recipient under RCM. This measure discourages transactions with unregistered vendors and promotes tax compliance.

3. Specific Notified Goods and Services: The government may notify certain goods or services for which RCM is applicable, irrespective of whether the supplier is registered. This provision allows the authorities to check sensitive transactions and prevent tax evasion.

Exemptions under RCM

While RCM is a crucial mechanism, certain exemptions have been provided to ease the compliance burden on businesses. Small businesses with a turnover below a specified threshold and transactions involving specific goods or services may be exempted from RCM.

Registration and Compliance under RCM

To comply with RCM, the recipient of goods or services must have a valid GSTIN (Goods and Services Tax Identification Number). The invoicing and reporting requirements also differ when RCM is involved.

  • GSTIN Requirements: To be eligible to pay tax under RCM, businesses must obtain a GSTIN from the tax authorities. This registration enables them to handle RCM-related compliance.
  • Invoicing and Reporting: Invoices issued under RCM must mention that the tax is payable by the recipient. Additionally, recipients are required to report RCM transactions separately in their GST returns.

Advantages of RCM

Understanding the advantages of the Reverse Charge Mechanism can help businesses adapt to the system and manage their finances more effectively:

1. Increased Tax Compliance; RCM incentivizes businesses to deal with registered suppliers by shifting the tax liability to the recipient. This promotes tax compliance and strengthens the GST framework.

2. Leveling the Playing Field: RCM ensures that all businesses contribute to the tax revenue regardless of their registration status. It prevents unfair advantages for unregistered suppliers and fosters a fair business environment.

3. Enhanced Input Tax Credit (ITC): Registered businesses can claim Input Tax Credit for the GST paid under RCM. This allows them to offset their tax liability and reduce the overall tax burden.

Challenges and Limitations of RCM

Despite its benefits, RCM presents some challenges and limitations:

  1. Administrative Complexity: RCM involves intricate compliance procedures, adding administrative burden, especially for small businesses.
  2. Cash Flow Impact: RCM can affect businesses’ cash flow, as they must pay taxes upfront before receiving customer payments.
  3. Non-Uniformity: The implementation of RCM can vary from state to state, leading to non-uniformity and confusion.

Impact of RCM on Small Businesses

Small businesses may face challenges with RCM, especially those with limited resources and an understanding of GST compliance. The burden of tax payment under RCM might impact their working capital and overall financial health.

How to Calculate RCM Liability?

The calculation of RCM liability can be complex, considering the varying tax rates and scenarios. Here’s a step-by-step guide on calculating RCM liability for goods and services transactions.

  1. Step 1: Identify RCM Applicability
  2. Step 2: Determine the Tax Rate
  3. Step 3: Calculate Tax Amount
  4. Step 4: Include RCM in GST Returns

Compliance and Documentation

Compliance with the Reverse Charge Mechanism requires meticulous record-keeping and documentation. Businesses must maintain proper invoices, receipts, and other relevant documents to claim Input Tax Credit and ensure a seamless GST return filing process.


In conclusion, the Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM) is a critical aspect of the GST system that places tax liability on the recipient instead of the supplier. It applies to specific scenarios, such as imports and purchases from unregistered dealers. RCM promotes tax compliance, ensures a level playing field, and allows businesses to claim Input Tax Credits. To stay compliant, businesses must understand the applicability of RCM and maintain accurate records for seamless tax filings. Embracing RCM is crucial for businesses aiming to thrive in the dynamic landscape of GST and contribute to the nation’s economic growth.


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