The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, in its 12th meeting, has approved the State and Union Territory GST, thus paving way for tabling of the GST Bills in the current session of Parliament. The clearance comes as an indicator to industry players to begin the documentation process in order to avoid a time crunch closer to the implementation date of July 1, 2017. Stressing on this, Sachin Menon, National Head, Indirect Tax, KPMG India stated that the state governments must ensure timely implementation of the state laws.
“The clearance of SGST and UTGST bills by the GST council is a resounding reiteration from the government about their seriousness to introduce GST by July 1. It is warning bell for those who have not yet commenced their preparations for introduction of GST. It will be too short a time for the industry for preparation if the states are not passing GST law latest by second half of April,” Sachin said.
Echoing a similar opinion, Archit Gupta, founder and CEO ClearTax.com, said that the council is yet to approve rules around composition, value addition, input tax credit and transitions under the existing act. Following this, marginal changes may be required which will be drafted by March 25. “13th meeting of the GST council will be on March 31st and may likely initiate GST rates discussion. GST rates discussion is crucial next step,” added Gupta. Meanwhile, the government has capped sin tax on luxury goods at 12 percent with room for another three percent, but sin tax not to exceed 15 percent.
The cap on this tax is prohibitive and meant for state compensation. It remains to be seen which category of goods will be covered in this, however it seems there will be only 5 commodities which will attract this sin tax. Earlier, the GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, had approved the draft CGST Bill and the draft IGST Bill as vetted by the Union Law Ministry. It cleared the deck for the Central Government to take these two Bills to the Parliament for their passage in the ongoing Budget Session.