Relief for small traders expected after today's GST Council meet
08 October, 2017, 01:02
October 7: Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) CEO Prakash Kumar on Saturday said over 64 lakh old taxpayers have migrated to the new taxation scheme, adding that returns from the month of July are still being filed.
The 22nd GST council meeting chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday chose to provide in some relief for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. He said, items including Khakhra, plain chapati, food packets used in ICDS scheme and unbranded Namkeen will now be taxed at 5 percent instead of 18 percent. Under this, restaurant businesses will pay GST at 5% rate, traders will pay 1% while manufacturing composition will be 2%. The scheme can be availed only by those businessess who operate within the state and do not have inter-state sales. Therefore, the GST Council took the decision to increase the threshold for small business to Rs. 1 crore under the composition scheme from the current Rs.75 lakh, he said.
The sweeping changes approved by the Centre-state council reflected the government's appreciation of the enormity of problems the new tax, with its complicated design, multiple rates and intrusive rules have created for businesses.
"Post-demonetisation disaster, a possible "good fortune" of adding two per cent to India's GDP is being converted into "misfortune" by sheer ineptitude and amateurish handling of the most important tax-reform", Surjewala said.
The council deliberated on GSTN glitches and issues faced by exporters.
The Council also announced the government's plans to kickstart a new digital e-wallet system for every exporter by April 2018 and a tech company will be hired for the same.
The Council considers the "e-wallet" as the permanent solution to cash blockage, as this would be credited with a notional amount as if it is an advance refund.
The Council made a decision to form a group of finance ministers to discuss issues including allowing inter-state traders under composition scheme, reducing GST on restaurants and exempting zero rated goods in calculation of turnover. A GoM has been set up to decide on turnover calculation mechanism and its report is due in two weeks.
# 1% tax applicable on traders under composition scheme. CII's Banerjee said the deferment of the reverse charge mechanism (RCM) is welcome as it encourages registered taxpayers to continue sourcing from small and unregistered taxpayers. "This will benefit small businesses and substantially reduce compliance costs", Jaitley said.
If GST on service is reduced to 10-percent, then scope of tax on service can be reduced from present 20 lakh per annum to five lakh per annum with those availing service worth more than five lakhs required to deposit GST directly to public-exchequer rather than routed through service-provider. Service providers can not opt for the scheme.
After assessing the readiness of the trade, industry and government departments, it has been decided that registration and operationalization of TDS/TCS provisions will be postponed until March 31, 2018.
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