The businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh are now exempt from goods and services tax (GST), finance ministry said on Monday. Earlier, the GST exemption limit was fixed at Rs 20 lakh. In addition, those with a turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore can opt for the Composition Scheme and pay only 1 per cent tax, it tweeted.
"Once GST was implemented, the tax rate on a large number of items was brought down. As of now, the 28% rate is almost solely restricted to sin and luxury items. Out of a total of about 230 items in the 28% slab, about 200 items have been shifted to lower slabs," the finance ministry also said.
The Ministry further said that significant relief has been extended by the government to the construction sector, particularly the housing sector. "It has now been placed at the 5% rate. GST on affordable housing has been reduced to 1%," it added.
The Ministry of Finance said that the taxpayer base has almost doubled since the rollout of GST.
"The numbers of assessee covered by the GST at the time of its inception were about 65 lakh. Now the assessee base exceeds 1.24 crore. All processes in GST have been fully automated. Till now 50 crore returns have been filed online and 131 crore e-way bill generated," it said.
Hailing the decision, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said, "This is a great step by the Government and many more further steps will have to be announced by the GST Council to support traders in these stressful times like immediate processing of Refunds, reduction of GST rates and simplifying the overall GST system."