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Jaitley hints at no review of GST rate on hybrid cars

Monday, June 12, 2017

Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley with MoS Santosh Gangwar and Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia during the16th GST Council Meeting at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi yesterday.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday hinted that the tax rate on hybrid cars will not be reviewed, saying the industry demands were not in sync with a study conducted by tax officers. The council had fixed 43% tax (28% GST plus 15% cess) on hybrid cars, a rate that industry felt was too high for the fuel efficient vehicles.

"We have done a detailed study on auto industry demand and a paper has been made which will be circulated among members. And, if necessary, it would come up for discussion. The fact that is being presented (by the industry), according to the paper, is not correct," Jaitley told reporters. The GST Council, chaired by the Union Finance Minister and having state counterparts as members, yesterday lowered tax rates on 66 of the 133 items demanded by various sections of the industry.

The council in its previous two meetings had put almost all good and services in the tax brackets of 5, 12, 18 and 28% as it prepares to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1. Jaitley said the weighted average of all the rates decided by the council is significantly lower than the present tax incidence.

Asked if there would be any further revision of rates, the minister said the fitment committee and the GST Council have gone into the depth of all the cases and whatever rates have been decided are based on "informed reasons" and "detailed discussions". "These broadly are the final rates... Just because somebody raises an issue does not mean you have to grant it," he said.

The automakers in their demand to the GST Council had asked it to reduce the tax rate on hybrid vehicles to 18%, arguing that they are much more efficient and eco- friendly but require scale and volume to become economically viable. As per the proposed rates under the GST regime, hybrid vehicles have been put in the same category as big petrol and diesel luxury cars attracting 28% rate with a cess of 15%.

The tax incidence on hybrid vehicles will go up to 43% from the current effective tax rate of 30.3%. At present, hybrid vehicles attract excise duty of 12.5%, similar to entry-level small cars such as Tata Nano or Maruti Alto.

Even though hybrid cars are exempt from infrastructure cess, there is a 1% National Calamity Contingent Duty, 2% Central Sales Tax and 12.5% VAT, which takes the total incidence to 30.3%.

GST Council lowers tax rates for 66 items
Tax rates on certain kitchen items like pickles and mustard sauce, as well as movie tickets costing up to Rs 100 have been lowered as the Centre and states yesterday reduced levies on 66 items.

Movie tickets costing Rs 100 and below will now attract 18% tax, as against 28% proposed earlier, while those above Rs 100 will continue to attract 28% GST. Kitchen use items like pickles, mustard sauce and morabba will attract 12% GST, as against 18% proposed earlier. Also, tax rates on cashew nuts have been cut to 5% from 12%.

The GST Council also decided that traders, manufacturers and restaurant owners with turnover of up to Rs 75 lakh can opt for a composition scheme and pay taxes at the rate of 1, 2, and 5% respectively. The Council also lowered GST rates on children's drawing books to nil from 12%. Computer printers will attract 18% tax as against 28% earlier.

GST on insulin and agarbatti has also been lowered to 5%, while school bags will attract tax of 18%. Tax rate on kajal has been lowered to 18% from 28%.

"GST Council has reduced tax rates of 66 items as against representations received for 133 items," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters here after the 16th meeting of the GST Council. Next meeting of the Council will be on June 18, when it will take up lottery taxes and e-way bill.

On the issue of review of GST rate on hybrid cars, it was decided that the council will take it up after considering states' comments on a detailed paper issued on the matter earlier.

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