February 22, 2018

GST Council recommends changes to ease burden of small and medium businesses

08 October 2017, 01:02 | Frank Carlson

Relief for small traders expected after today's GST Council meet

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The GST Council also said that it is considering the changes for a number of other items and an announcement on any further development will soon follow.

# Composition scheme has been relaxed, threshold now at Rs 1 cr from Rs 75 lakh.

As per the data available from the department, from July 1 till date, the department has earned Rs 491.79 crore revenue through GST (including Value-Added Tax on petroleum), which is 22 per cent less as compared to similar period- July-September 2016, wherein Rs 628.27 crore were deposited with the state government.

There is a strong buzz that the council might defer the reverse charge mechanism (RCM) which is creating problems for small businesses. GST on unbranded ayurvedic medicine, unbranded namkeen, sliced dried mango, khakra, paper waste, e-waste, plastic waste, rubber waste, was slashed to 5% from 12%.

Mr. Jaitley said, the Council discussed e-way bill. Returns have been filed for first two months as well.

Exporters body FIEO's President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said that these initiatives will address the problem of the exporters particularly micro and small segments. The government will also deposit notional tax credits in the e-wallets that can be used to procure goods without actually incurring a tax burden.

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While GST was meant to cool prices - the government had claimed that it would eventually bring down inflation by 2 percentage points - it has proved to be inflationary at least in the interim (retail inflation increased to 3.36% in August from 2.26% in July).

Briefing the media persons after 22nd meeting of GST Council here, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the businesses with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore have been allowed to file quarterly returns instead of monthly filings.

The GST Council yesterday raised the composition scheme threshold for businesses to Rs. 1 crore, which will allow them to pay a tax of one per cent to five per cent, without having to deal with the three-stage filing process. Jaitley said that a majority of them have a turnover of less than Rs 1 crore and the compliance expected from them exceeds the tax input from them.

With small businesses and traders complaining about the compliance burden the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime has put on them, the Council made a decision to give more businesses the option to avail of the Composition Scheme by raising the turnover limit to Rs 1 crore.

Eating out is set to become cheaper with the GST Council agreeing to reduce the GST rate from the current 18 percent to 12 per cent. Jaitley said a group of ministers would revisit the tax on AC restaurants.

Friday's move, which comes almost 100 days after the indirect tax levy was rolled out on 1 July came in response to representions from India Inc over difficulties in filing returns and securing refunds. Moreover, job works related to zari embroidery, imitation jewellery, food items, printing and government contracts involving high element of labour will all attract GST at the rate of 5 percent. Service providers with less than 20 lakh revenue have be added to the GST exempt list. Service providers can not opt for the scheme.

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