To aid taxpayers file return with convenience, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council decided on a simplified and new process of filing monthly returns. The transition is given a total of 6 months to take place.
The Council, however, deferred a decision on levying a cess on sugar after Opposition from some states. Besides, the GST Council also veered around to giving up to Rs 100 incentive for digital payments for purchases by consumers.
“It will take about six months for GSTN to prepare for it, so for that period the current arrangement of GSTR3B and GSTR 1 will continue. This will be the first phase of transition where the current system will continue for the next six months,” said Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia.
However, Chairman and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Council decided to set up two separate groups of five Finance Ministers of states to give recommendations both on the imposition of a cess on sugar as well as a 2 per cent incentive for making payments digitally.
“All taxpayers excluding a few exceptions like composition dealers shall file one monthly GST return in place of multiple filings currently required in a month. Return filing dates shall be staggered based on the turnover of the registered person to manage load on the IT system. Composition dealers and dealers having nil transaction shall have facility to file quarterly return,” Jaitley said, while briefing reporters in the 27th meeting of the GST Council.
The council also referred the issue of incentivising digital payments to a group of state finance ministers after some states wanted a negative list. Most member states on the panel were agreeable to the proposal of giving a concession of 2 per cent in GST rate (where the tax rate is 3 per cent or more) on business-to-consumer (B2C) supplies, for which payment is made through cheque or digital mode, subject to a ceiling of Rs 100 per transaction, so as to incentivise promotion of digital payments.
The Council also discussed about the imposing of levies on both sugar and on some negative items in GST list. “But since some states wanted a small negative list, the issue will be referred to a five-member group of state finance ministers. As far as issue of levy of cess on sugar is concerned, a separate Group of Ministers (GoMs) also would look into the issue and reduction of GST on ethanol as well,” Jaitley said.
Analysing the cost of sugar production, he said it is over Rs 35 per kg, the market price is around Rs 26-28 a kg and cane growers are in deep distress and a proposal to levy a cess was made to help them. “Now since this suggestion has been made after the GST has been implemented,” he said, referring to GST roll-out from July 1 last year where a cess on top of GST rate was imposed only on luxury and demerit goods like cigarettes and high-end cars to make up a kitty to compensate states for their losses due to implementation of the new tax regime.
On farmers’ prospective, he said, “How are such contingencies to be addressed in the GST regime, are they to be addressed by imposition of cess or are they to be addressed by temporarily increasing the tax or by some alternative method of revenue raising.”
Jaitley, however, asserted that the GoMs would make a recommendation to the council on the avenues for raising revenue to meet contingencies of this kind where the cost of commodity is much higher than its selling price and the committee would be announced over the next two days.
Writer: Madhusudan Sahoo
Courtesy: The Pioneer