Facing severe criticism over the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, the government October 6 announced a slew of measures to ease the concerns of traders, exporters and small business while slashing the rates on 27 items of common consumption, including roti, khakra, namkeens, stationery and man-made yarn, with majority switched to five percent category.
He said the GST Council agreed to allow SMEs with turnover of up to Rs1.5 crore file their quarterly returns instead of monthly - a relief that would benefit about 90 per cent of taxpayers in the country.
In a major relief to the common man, small and medium traders and exporters, the GST Council on Friday reduced tax rates on 27 items and allowed small traders to file their returns on a quarterly basis.
Among the services, tax rates were reduced for job workers to 5% from 12%.
Tax rate on man-made yarn was reduced to 12% from the current 18%, which is expected to provide relief to the textile industry.
Currently, food served at restaurants attracts tax at two rates - 12% and 18% - under GST, depending on whether it serves liquor or whether it is an AC restaurant.
In addition, the Council has made a decision to create a group of ministers (GoM) to look into the issues of extending composition scheme on inter-state trade and rationalising tax on restaurants. The scheme can be availed only by those businessess who operate within the state and do not have inter-state sales. Along with that, the threshold for composition scheme has been increased from ₹75 lakhs to ₹1 crore and it is going to impact a lot of traders. The GST Council on Friday chose to review several issues, including the tax structure for restaurants, amid complaints that several of them were not passing on the benefit of input tax credit through price cuts.
"Large part of the tax collection about 94-95% comes from large taxpayers... The refund will be offset later against that amount", Jaitley said The e-wallet option will be launched by 1st April, he added. Immediate relief is being given by extending the advance authorization (AA), export promotion capital goods (EPCG) and 100 per cent export-oriented unit (EOU) schemes to sourcing inputs from overseas as well as domestic suppliers. This will prevent the working capital of exporters from getting locked up in tax procedures and help improve their liquidity. A technology company will be allotted the task to develop e-wallets for exporters.
Reverse charge is a mechanism where the recipient of the good or service will have to pay GST which otherwise would be paid by the supplier.
The GoM would give its recommendations within two weeks. "He said that the roll out of e-way bill, another issue that has been under consideration for a long time, has been deferred to March 31, 2018.The experience of Karnataka where it is in place has been encouraging", said Jaitley.
Traders say the relief measures will simplify the GST and encourage faster adoption of the tax system among the trading community, but there are many more issues which are to be addressed, for which these committees could be very useful.
Summary: "Modi became PM after selling tea and we, too, are hoping that our fate will change by selling tea and our "good days" will soon arrive", said Jaswinder Singh Thukral, president of Janta Nagar Small Scale Manufacturers' Association. 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.
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