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All GST compensation dues worth Rs 16,982 crore will be cleared, says Nirmala Sitharaman

GST Council reduces tax on liquid jaggery, pencil sharpeners

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the 49th GST Council meeting in Delhi | PTI Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the 49th GST Council meeting in Delhi | PTI

GST Council, the apex decision-making authority, on Saturday reduced the tax rate on several items, including 'rab' (liquid jagger) and pencil sharpeners, besides rationalising late fee for the delayed filing of annual returns.

Briefing media after the 49th meeting of the GST Council, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also informed that reports of the GoM (Group of Ministers) on checking tax evasion by pan masala and gutkha industry, and on Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunals (GSTATs), have been taken on board.

Headed by Union Finance Minister, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council comprises finance ministers of states and UTs (with legislature).

Sitharaman also announced that the central government has decided to clear the entire pending balance GST compensation of Rs 16,982 crore for June 2022. The Centre has decided to release the amount from its own resources and the same will be recouped from the future compensation cess collection, she said.

With this release, the Centre would clear the entire provisionally admissible compensation dues for five years as envisaged in the GST (Compensation to States) Act 2017, an official release said. The Centre will also clear the admissible final GST Compensation to those states who have provided revenue figures certified by the Accountant General which amounts to Rs 16,524 crore, Sitharaman said.

She said the panel recommended reduction of GST rate on Rab (liquid jaggery) from 18 per cent to nil if sold loose or 5 per cent, if pre-packaged and labelled.

For pencil sharpeners, the duty has been reduced to 12 per cent from the current 18 per cent.

It also decided that if a device like a tag-tracking device or data logger is already affixed on a container, no separate IGST would be levied on the affixed device and the nil' IGST treatment available for the containers would also be available to them.

Another important decision includes extending exemption benefit covers on coal rejects supplies to and by coal washery.

The Council has recommended rationalising the late fee for delayed filing of annual returns in Form GSTR-9 for 2022-23 onwards, for registered persons having aggregate turnover in a financial year up to Rs 20 crore.

For registered persons having an aggregate turnover of up to Rs 5 crore in a fiscal, the late fee will be Rs 50 per day, subject to a maximum of 0.04 per cent of turnover. In case of more than Rs 5 crore and up to Rs 20 crore, the fine will be Rs 100 per day, subject to 0.04 per cent of the turnover.

Presently, a late fee of Rs 200 per day, subject to a maximum of 0.5 per cent of the turnover, is payable in case of delayed filing of the annual return in FORM GSTR-9

In order to provide relief to a large number of taxpayers, the Council recommended amnesty schemes in respect of pending returns in Form GSTR-4, Form GSTR-9 and Form GSTR-10 by way of conditional waiver/ reduction of late fee.

Sitharaman said the Council adopted the report of the Group of Ministers on the GST Appellate Tribunal with certain modifications. The final draft amendments to the GST laws will be circulated to Members for their comments.

With a view to plugging the leakages and improving the revenue collection from the commodities like pan masala, gutkha, and chewing tobacco, the Council approved the recommendations of the GoM.

The recommendations include the capacity-based levy not to be prescribed, and compliance and tracking measures to be taken to plug leakages/evasions.

Another recommendation of the GoM was that the compensation cess levied on such commodities be changed from ad valorem to a specific tax-based levy to boost the first stage collection of the revenue.

The GoM on checking tax evasion by pan masala and gutkha industry is headed by Odisha finance minister Niranjan Pujari, while Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala leads the panel on Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunals (GSTATs).

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