GST Council meet today; more sops likely for traders

Narendra Modi government Oil sector

The GST Council also reduced rates for as many as 27 commonly-used items and services.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley admitted to reporters in Delhi Friday that the tax burden on smaller companies has been low but the compliance burden has been high.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked the GST Council to review all the problems arising from the new indirect tax regime.

'Compliances are something that have really hit the small traders very, very hard, ' Anita Rastogi, partner at consulting firm PwC told AFP. "GST is in line with our constant endeavour to ensure interests of our citizens are safeguarded & India's economy grows", he added.

Small businesses would be allowed to file tax returns once a quarter instead of monthly returns, Mr Jaitley said following the 22nd meeting of the GST Council.

Jaitley said the council has chose to form a Group of Ministers (GoM).

Although consumers have been relatively unaffected by the GST, businesses and especially SMEs are facing difficulties.

Businesses having Rs 1.5 crore turnover make up 90 per cent of the taxpayer base but contribute only six per cent of tax.

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It has been hundred days since the Goods and Service TAX (GST) came into effect on July 1st.

The GST council today announced major cuts in taxes of various items and announced various measures to support exporters and small businesses.

So it was decided that both Centre and State officials will be empowered to start processing refunds and give exporters cheques.

GST Composition Scheme Limit has been enhanced to ₹1 Crore, from the existing limit of ₹75 lakhs and it will include 1% tax for traders, 2% tax for manufacturers and 5% tax for restaurants.

Small businesses with sales up to Rs1.5 crore can also now file quarterly tax returns instead of monthly returns, although tax payment has to be made on a monthly basis.

The availability of credit and more so the cost of credit is adversely impacting them and on account of this, the government should consider introduction of e-wallet for exporters, FIEO had said. A technology company will be hired to launch an e-wallet scheme by April 2018 with notional tax credits that exporters can use to procure goods without actually incurring a tax burden.

He further said that the reverse charge mechanism for transactions between registered, unregistered business has been deferred till March 31, 2018.

The finance minister added that the pattern of collection [of the GST] is not clear after two months, because it was a period of transition.

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