On Friday, November 10, Centre made significant changes in the tax rates of mass consumption items by slashing the Goods & Services Tax (GST) on them. The Council cut rates on 211 items across all tax brackets. The GST Council slashed tax rates on 177 items in the top 28 percent to 18 percent bracket which included chocolates, chewing gum, shaving cream, aftershave kits, beauty products, granite and marble. A uniform 5 percent tax was prescribed for all restaurants that were lowered from 18 percent in air-conditioned and 12 percent on non-AC ones. However, the slashing of GST rates hasn’t been welcomed wholeheartedly by the opposition who claimed it as an “election ploy” to influence voters before the upcoming Gujarat Assembly Elections on December 9. Congress even claimed that it was because of their party’s constant pressure on the Centre. But, on Monday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley debunked Congress’ claim that it forced the government to lower tax on over 200 goods, saying rationalisation of rates was in works for 3-4 months and it is “juvenile politics” to link it to any election or political demand. So, here’s what the revised GST rates look for the consumer after the major change in the tax rates and next time you go out shopping, see how much money you have saved:
1. Items in 0 percent tax slab:
A major chunk of the daily used items especially food items come under this category. The items include fresh meat, fish chicken, eggs, milk, buttermilk, curd, natural honey, fresh fruits and vegetables, flour, besan, bread, prasad, salt, Palmyra jaggery. Items for children such as Children’s’ picture, drawing or colouring books as well as stamps, judicial papers, printed books, newspapers will attract 0 percent tax. Meanwhile, rough industrial diamonds including unsorted rough diamonds will attract 0.25% tax.
2. Items in 5 percent tax slab:
Uniform 5 percent tax on all restaurants imposed; rates of branded food and packaged food items have also been reduced. Other food items include skimmed milk powder, branded paneer, frozen vegetables, coffee, tea, spices, pizza bread, rusk, sabudana, Cashew nut, Cashew nut in shell, Raisin; fibre products, including mats, pouches, Ayurvedic, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy medicines; paper waste or scrap.
3. Items in 12 percent tax slab:
Apparel above Rs 1000, frozen meat products , butter, cheese, ghee, dry fruits in packaged form, animal fat, sausage, fruit juices, Bhutia, namkeen, Ayurvedic medicines, tooth powder, agarbatti, colouring books, picture books, umbrella, sewing machine, cellphones, Ketchup & Sauces come under this category. This also includes parts of specified agricultural, horticultural, forestry, harvesting or threshing machinery, specified parts of sewing machine, spectacles frames, furniture wholly made of bamboo or cane. The services that come under the 12 percent tax slab include state-run lotteries, Non-AC hotels, business class air ticket, fertilisers and work contracts.
4. Items in 18 percent tax slab:
The items that come under this tax slab are footwear costing more than Rs 500, trademarks, goodwill, software, Bidi Patta, Biscuits (All categories), flavoured refined sugar, pasta, cornflakes, pastries and cakes, preserved vegetables, jams, sauces, soups, ice cream, instant food mixes, chewing gum, white chocolate, not containing cocoa, cocoa butter, fat and oil, Cocoa powder, not containing added sugar or sweetening matter, chocolates and other food preparations containing cocoa, Malt extract, mineral water, tissues, Weighing Machinery (other than electric or electronic weighing machinery), Printers (other than multifunction printers). Marble and travertine, other than blocks Granite, other than blocks Portland cement, aluminous cement, slag cement, Paints and varnishes (including enamels and lacquers), Paints and varnishes will also attract 18 percent tax. The services that come under this are restaurants in hotel premises having room tariff of Rs 7500 and above, telecom services, IT services, branded garments and financial services and outdoor catering.
5. Items under 28 percent tax:
Meanwhile, the items that attract the most that is 28 percent tax include bidis, molasses, pan masala, aerated water, paint, sunscreen, wallpaper, ceramic tiles, water heater, dishwasher, weighing machine, washing machine, ATM, vending machines, vacuum cleaner, automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft for personal use. You will also have to pay this amount of tax for race club betting, cinema and private-run lotteries.