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GST Council reduced rates of 29 goods, 54 categories of services

January 20, 2018
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during address a press conference on India's Ranking in the World Bank's ease of doing Business report 2017 at National Media Centre on 31 oct 2017. Express photo by Renuka Puri.

New Delhi: The all-powerful GST Council, veered around the idea of making the Goods and Services Tax (GST) return filing process simpler to ease compliance burden for small businesses.

The panel, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising representatives of all states, at its 25th meeting on Thursday decided to reduce tax rate on 29 items and 54 categories of services with effect from January 25.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Jaitley said the next meeting of the Council may consider bringing items like crude oil, natural gas, petrol, diesel, ATF and real estate within the GST purview.

In a bid to ease compliance burden, the Council veered around to the idea of registered entities continuing to file the return in GSTR 3B Form while moving to a system where supplier invoice captures details of the transaction.

The new process would be finalised in the next meeting of the GST Council after a written formulation is circulated to the states, he said.

The date of the next meeting of the Council has not yet been decided, he said.

Jaitley said the GST provision requiring transporters to carry an electronic waybill or e-way bill, when moving goods of over Rs 50,000 in value between states, will be implemented from February 1 to check rampant tax evasion.

As many as 15 states have decided to implement the provision for intra-state movements as well, he said.

After implementation of the GST from July 1, the requirement of carrying e-way bill was postponed pending IT network readiness.

Once the e-way bill system is implemented, tax avoidance will become extremely difficult as the government will have details of all goods above the value of Rs 50,000 moved and can spot the mismatch if either the supplier or the purchaser does not file tax returns.

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