GST Council meeting: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman-led Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council will hold its meeting today to discuss key issues including revenue shortfall, a boost to real estate sector, refund for exporters and tax rates on lotteries. The Council could also announce measures to balance revenue collection between states and Centre. Besides, the Council may impose 2 per cent cess on certain goods, which fall under 5-18 per cent tax slabs.
The GST Council is contemplating the creation of a single window for all refunds and disbursal for exporters. To boost the real estate sector, the all-powerful GST Council could simplify rates on long-term leases by exempting lease up to 30 years or more if the plot is provided by a state government or if Centre's stake on land is 20 per cent, says the agenda note, reported The Economic Times. The GST Council could fix the tax rate at 5 per cent on the lease of land owned by an individual. Currently, a GST rate of 18 per cent applies to all long-term leases. The measure is expected to provide a major boost to hospitality, manufacturing and real estate businesses.
Today's GST Council meeting could bring some bad news for those in lottery business as the Council thinks lotteries come under sin goods, and hence should be taxed higher. As per the agenda note, GST on lotteries could be rationalised to 18 per cent or 28 per cent instead of current 12 per cent - those run by states - and 28 per cent, those authorised by states and are run in multiple states.
Several reports suggest the Council may also implement 2 per cent additional cess on goods that fall under 5 per cent and 18 per cent tax brackets to make up for a revenue shortfall. Amid concerns over lower GST collections, the Centre had earlier sought suggestions and proposals from the states to increase revenue.
The Centre had also sought "suggestions/inputs/measures" from the states on issues relating to a review of items currently under exemption, GST and compensation cess rates on various items, rate calibrations for addressing the inverted duty structure, compliance measures other than those currently under implementation and any other measures to augment revenue.
Separately, five states including Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala and West Bengal voiced their concerns over the delay in payment of compensation cess by the Centre. "GST compensation for August and September, required to be paid by the central government sometime in October, continues to be outstanding till date," a joint statement issued by the five states had said.
The GST Council is the top policy-making body of GST-related matters. The council is headed by the Union Finance Minister and includes Union Minister of State in the ministry and one minister from the 28 states each as well as the three union territories.
Edited by Manoj Sharma