The 39th GST Council meeting scheduled tomorrow may just be a formality as the Council is supposed to meet once every quarter, and nothing tangible is likely to come out of the meeting. According to Finance Ministry sources, the time allotted for the meeting so far is just one hour, and the most likely topics of discussion would be revenue augmentation and waiver of late fee.
The Council has been debating on the issue of revenue augmentation, as both the Centre and states have been facing severe revenue constraints. However, experts say that the Council is not likely to take any decision on increasing GST rates.
Though, it can take up smaller yet important issues for discussion, like waiver of late fee for the period from August 2017 to January 2020, review GST compliance data, etc.
Mahesh Jaisingh, partner, Deloitte India, says: "The relevance of this GST Council meeting is that GST Council has to meet once a quarter, and it's a mandatory meeting, so it's more of a place-holder. I don't think there is anything tangible on the policy front or on the rate front coming from the meeting."
He says that though the larger issue that the Council is looking at is revenue augmentation, it is too sensitive (an issue) for it to increase rates now.
Though he expects some compliance related announcements on account of COVID-19 and an announcement on e-invoicing, which would necessarily be re-iterating that the government is on track for its October roll-out.
Archit Gupta, Founder and CEO, Cleartax, says the government will review GST compliance data and take measures to boost compliance. "Businesses have requested the GST Council for a late fee waiver that belongs to the period August 2017 to January 2020. Compliance will improve if late fees are waived off for this period. We are expecting that this will be passed on as a one-time relief to taxpayers," he says.
There is some hope that in order to support industries in these trying times, the GST Council might extend return filing dates and interest at 9 per cent for delayed payment is also waived.
Ritesh Kanodia, partner, Dhruva Advisors, says among other critical issues that the Council can discuss are immediate issue of pending GST refunds subject to post facto verification, allowing payment of GST on cash basis, and extension of time period for availment of ITC and for issuance of credit note from September to March.
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