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VAT vs. GST — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on October 29, 2023
VAT (Value Added Tax) is levied on the added value at each stage of production, while GST (Goods and Services Tax) is a comprehensive tax on goods and services at a uniform rate.
VAT vs. GST — What's the Difference?

Difference Between VAT and GST


Key Differences

VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a consumption tax placed on a product at each stage of production before the final sale. GST, Goods and Services Tax, however, integrates various state and central taxes into one unified tax, simplifying tax structures for goods and services.
While VAT primarily targets the added value at every stage of the production or distribution of goods, GST is levied on the total transaction value, encompassing both goods and services. This makes GST a broader tax system compared to VAT.
Under the VAT system, different stages of production and distribution can claim input tax credit, which helps in preventing the cascading effect of taxes. In contrast, GST, being comprehensive, also reduces the cascading tax effect and incorporates various taxes, ensuring smoother credit flow.
VAT systems might have varying rates and regulations based on the region or country. GST, especially in nations like India, introduces a uniform rate, aiming to unify the economy.
Interestingly, while VAT focuses mainly on tangible goods, GST's scope is wider, encompassing a broad range of goods and services, making it more encompassing in terms of tax collection.

Comparison Chart


Consumption tax on value addition.
Comprehensive tax on goods and services.


Mainly tangible goods.
Both tangible goods and services.

Credit System

Input tax credit available.
Seamless credit flow due to integration of taxes.

Rate Variation

Might vary based on regions.
Typically a unified rate in some nations.

Cascading Effect

Reduced due to credit on input tax.
Further reduced due to tax integration.

Compare with Definitions


Tax on value added during production.
The manufacturer paid VAT for the added value to the raw materials.


Integrates various state and central taxes.
GST replaced multiple taxes, simplifying the taxation system.


Often varies by region or country.
In Europe, each country might have a different VAT rate.


A uniform tax on goods and services.
After GST implementation, both the restaurant meal and the kitchen appliance had the same tax rate.


Primarily on tangible goods.
VAT was applied to the electronics sold in the store.


Typically reduces tax cascading more than VAT.
The introduction of GST further minimized the cascading effect of taxes on goods and services.


Consumption tax at each production stage.
The distributor was charged VAT on the price difference after markup.


Comprehensive in nature, covering wide scope.
GST was levied on both the consultancy service and the laptop purchase.


A large vessel, such as a tub, cistern, or barrel, used to hold or store liquids.


Aims to streamline tax credit flow.
Manufacturers found GST beneficial due to its seamless credit system.


To put into or treat in a vat.


A large tub, such as is used for making wine or for tanning.
A vat of liquid
A vat of acid
A vat of wine
A vat of olives
A vat of fat
A vat of glue


A square, hollow place on the back of a calcining furnace, where tin ore is laid to dry.


(Roman Catholic) A vessel for holding holy water.


(dated) A liquid measure and dry measure; especially, a liquid measure in Belgium and Holland, corresponding to the hectolitre of the metric system, which contains 22.01 imperial gallons, or 26.4 standard gallons in the United States.


(transitive) To put into a vat.


(transitive) To blend (wines or spirits) in a vat; figuratively, to mix or blend elements as if with wines or spirits.


A large vessel, cistern, or tub, especially one used for holding liquors in an immature state, chemical preparations for dyeing, or for tanning, or for tanning leather, or the like.
Let him produce his vats and tubs, in opposition to heaps of arms and standards.


A measure for liquids, and also a dry measure; especially, a liquid measure in Belgium and Holland, corresponding to the hectoliter of the metric system, which contains 22.01 imperial gallons, or 26.4 standard gallons in the United States.


A wooden tub for washing ores and mineral substances in.


A vessel for holding holy water.


To put or transfer into a vat.


A tax levied on the difference between a commodity's price before taxes and its cost of production


A large open vessel for holding or storing liquids


Aims to reduce tax cascading.
With VAT in place, the retailer could claim input tax credit.

Common Curiosities

How do VAT and GST differ fundamentally?

VAT is levied on the value added at each production stage, while GST is a comprehensive tax on the total value of goods and services.

Is GST broader in scope than VAT?

Yes, GST encompasses both goods and services, whereas VAT primarily targets tangible goods.

Which system integrates multiple taxes?

GST integrates various state and central taxes into one unified system.

Can VAT rates vary between regions?

Yes, VAT rates can differ based on the region or country.

Is the cascading effect of taxes more reduced in GST?

Yes, GST, being comprehensive, further reduces the cascading tax effect compared to VAT.

Can businesses claim credits under both systems?

Yes, both VAT and GST systems allow businesses to claim tax credits, but the mechanisms might differ.

Which tax system aims for a more uniform rate?

GST typically aims for a uniform rate, especially in countries like India.

Are services covered under VAT?

Typically, VAT primarily focuses on tangible goods, while GST covers both goods and services.

How does VAT affect the cascading effect of taxes?

VAT reduces the cascading effect by allowing input tax credit at various production stages.

Does GST replace other taxes?

Yes, GST replaces multiple state and central taxes, simplifying the tax structure.

Which tax is more prevalent globally?

Both VAT and GST are used globally, but the nomenclature and structure might differ based on the country.

What's the primary focus of VAT?

VAT focuses on taxing the value added at each stage of production or distribution of goods.

Why is GST considered more streamlined?

GST offers a seamless credit flow by integrating various taxes and covering a wider scope of goods and services.

Are both taxes consumption-based?

Yes, both VAT and GST are consumption-based taxes, but they differ in their scope and implementation.

Which tax system simplifies taxation more effectively?

GST is considered more effective in simplifying taxation due to its comprehensive and integrated nature.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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