GST Council cuts tax rate cut on 29 goods, 53 services

The 25th GST Council meet ended in New Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan on Thursday. The Council has cut tax rate on several goods and services.Speaking to media post the GST meet, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Nandan Nilekani, as part of Infosys, the service provider of GST, closely interacted with the two committees.

The 25th GST Council meetended in New Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan on Thursday. Speaking to media post the GST Council meet, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Nandan Nilekani, as part of Infosys, the service provider of GST, closely interacted with the two committees which include a ministerial group led by Sushil Modi and an IT committee under Ajay Bhushan Pandey.

Fitment committee recommendations on new rates for 29 goods and 53 services were accepted by the Council. New rates on these will come into force from January 25, the Finance Minister said.

The issue of bringing petrol, diesel and other items exempted from GST did not appear before the GST Council, but they will be taken up during the next meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the press conference.

Bihar Finance Minister Sushil Modi said the GST Council will take up bringing real estate, electric duty, petroleum products under GST in its next meeting. A lot of tax evasion can be plugged through E-way bill and those who do not take e-way bill will be penalised, Sushil Modi said after the meeting.

"Composition scheme was seriously discussed in the GST Council meet. Most of the applicants for composition scheme have declared their turnover under Rs 20 lakh, so there seems to be cases of under-declaration as far as composition scheme is concerned. Out of 17 lakh dealers who have registered for 1 per cent tax rate under the composition scheme, only 307 crore have been collected. These findings will be factored in when the CGST, SGST, IGST Acts are amended," said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

07:00 pm: 26th meeting to be held via video conferencing, the Finance Minister added.

06:56 pm: Fitment committee will fix the rates of 40 handicraft items, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

06:45 pm: Speaking to CNBC TV 18, Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Haseeb Drabu said that Nandan Nilekanni presented a new returns filing model. Nandan Nilekani wants matching at the level of buyer and seller, Drabu said.

06:42 pm:  GST Council meeting ends.

06:40 pm: Revenue collection for the month of December looking lower than earlier expected, says J&K FM

06:38 pm:  Quite a few services and goods have been moved from 18% to 12%, says J&K FM

06:35 pm:  No consensus on convergence of bills, J&K FM

06:30 pm: Nilekani said GST should be a part of business process, J&K FM

06:10 pm: No decision on bringing petroleum and real estate under the GST yet

06:07 pm: 29 handicrafts have been brought under the 0 per cent GST rate category. While tax rate on other handicrafts have been reduced.

06:05 pm: Rates reduced on some agri products

06:03 pm: GST Council to meet in 10 days via video conferencing to finalise simpler GST filing

06:00 pm: Return simplification is still underway

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently told Rajya Sabha that the Centre was ready to include petroleum products under the new tax regime but it would want a consensus with the state governments. While the state governments are yet to clear their stand on the issue, industry body Assocham said that the consensus on inclusion of petroleum would never emerge as the state and the Centre were over-dependent on the sector for revenue collection.

In November, the Council had brought down taxes on over 200 goods. As many as 178 items of daily use were shifted from the top tax bracket of 28 per cent to 18 per cent. The move, however, cost the exchequer dearly as following months GST collections declined. The Council will also analyse the possible reasons behind the continuous decline in GST collections.

In the last three months, the GST revenue has gone down. The data show that the GST collection for November stood at Rs 80,808 crore, lowest since the GST roll out in last July. In October, the GST revenue was Rs 83,346 crore and in September it was Rs 95,131 crore. This slump in GST collections has been the biggest worry for the Finance Minister.

In the meeting, the Council may also take up compliance issue and could come up with a single stage return filing to smoothen the tax filing procedures for small and medium enterprises. After the introduction of single form filing, the traders/firms will have to file just  12, one each month. Currently, there are three return forms: GSTR1, GSTR2 and GSTR3 that taxpayers file every month.