GST Council meet: In a big relief to the common man, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council slashed tax rates on several consumer durables, and also took major decisions pertaining to simplifying the return process as well as exempting sanitary pads from GST purview among others. Earlier, there was a 12% levy of tax on sanitary napkins. Notably, another major agenda on the cards, relating to sugar cess also assumed focus, and the Delhi FM said that a report has been submitted for the same. The 28th GST Council meeting also saw cuts on items such as shoes, small handicraft items, rakhi among others. Interim finance minister Piyush Goyal said that the new rates will be applicable from July 27. We bring to you the complete list of items on which rates have been revised.
Watch Minister @PiyushGoyal briefing media about the decisions taken at the 28th Meeting of GST Council, at a press conference in New Delhi https://t.co/ATftq7ZcpC
— Piyush Goyal Office (@PiyushGoyalOffc) July 21, 2018
Important items in 28% to 18% list
These are among the most important items, on which the council has revised rates from 28% to 18%.
Paints and varnishes (including enamels and lacquers), glaziers’ putty, grafting putty, resin cements
Refrigerators, freezers and other refrigerating or freezing equipment including water cooler, milk coolers, refrigerating equipment for leather industry, ice cream freezer etc.
Washing machines, vacuum cleaners, lithium-ion batteries, and television up to 68 cm size.
Important items shifted from 18%, 12% and 5% to nil list
Stone/marble/wood deities, rakhi
Sanitary napkins, coir pith compost
Sal Leaves siali leaves and their products and Sabai Rope
Circulation and commemorative coins, sold by Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd [SPMCIL] to Ministry of Finance.
Important items in 5% slab
Knitted caps or otherwise under Rs 1,000/Unit will be taxed at 5%. Rates on handmade carpets and other handmade textile floor coverings (including namda/gabba) Handmade lace, Hand-woven tapestries revised to 5% from 12%.
Ethanol for oil companies at 5%. Footwear under Rs 1,000 now in the 5% slab.
Simplified return process
Notably, the council has also approved the suggestion of simpler return filing process. Now, enterprises with business turnover up to Rs 5 crore will have to file quarterly returns instead of monthly filings. However, tax will have to be paid on a monthly basis. More than 93 percent traders and small businesses are expected to get benefited from this. Exemption limit for traders in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Himalaya, Sikkim, increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
Important changes on the services front
In case of services, major relief was provided on categories including agriculture, farming and food processing industry; education, training and skill development and pension, social security and old age support. Hotel industry has been given major relief by providing that the rate of tax on accommodation service shall be based on transaction value instead of declared tariff.
More specifically, the council has-
Exempt services by way of artificial insemination of livestock (other than horses).
Exempt warehousing of minor forest produce in line with exemptions provided to the agricultural produce.
Exempt the works of installation and commissioning undertaken by DISCOMS/ electricity distribution companies for extending electricity distribution network upto the tube well of the farmer/ agriculturalist for agricultural use.
Exempt services provided by FSSAI to food business operators.
Education/ Training/ Skill Development.
In May, the GST Council had given an initial blueprint of the single return filing system, which is likely to be fully introduced in phases in 6-12 months time. One may expect more details about the new filing system that will be brought in to ease the processes for businesses and subsequently increase compliance. The GST collection had hit Rs 1 trillion-mark in April, followed by Rs 94,016 crore in May and Rs 95,610 crore in June. The move of the council is being seen as a step in the direction of simplifying the return filing process.