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GST Council may prune items in 28% slab, simplify returns today

Friday, November 10, 2017

The GST Council may today consider reducing items in the 28% tax slab and slash rates for daily use items, plastic products and hand-made furniture as it looks to provide relief to consumers.

Four months after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out, the panel headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will look at the most comprehensive overhaul of rates, easing returns filing and providing more relief to small and medium enterprises, official sources said.

The 23rd meeting of the Council, being held here, will also deliberate on the suggestions made by Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma-headed GoM to cut tax rates for the composition scheme businesses to 1% and lower rates for non-AC restaurants.

The Council, comprising state finance ministers, is also set to review the GST returns filing cycle and make it taxpayer friendly.

The Council may tomorrow rationalise rates in sectors where the total incidence of taxation has gone up because the goods were either exempt from excise or attracted lower VAT rates under the previous indirect tax regime.

As the Council tries to accommodate industry concerns on tax rates, after estimating the impact on revenue, a rationalisation of items in the 28% tax bracket is expected. "Most of the daily-use items like shampoo could be lowered to 18%. Tax rate on items like furniture, electric switches and plastic pipes could be relooked at," an official said.

Besides, making the composition scheme more attractive is on the agenda and as per the Group of Ministers (GoM) recommendations, the Council may decide to allow businesses in inter-state trade to opt for the arrangement.

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