GST rate rationalisation possible, says Piyush Goyal

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The GST Council may look at rationalising tax rates on some items on merits after ensuring balance with revenue mop-up, finance minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.

The council, in its next meeting on 21 July, will also discuss ease of filing returns as well as ease of assessment, he added. “The GST Council has already reduced rates on 328 items, so you may possibly find some chance (of rate reduction) where there is a meritorious reason. It has to be in balance with revenue considerations,” Goyal said.

When asked whether the GST Council could consider lowering rates in its next meeting, Goyal said the council had been very responsive to industry demands, and whenever there were cases of inverted duty or any other reason that merited attention, rates were reduced to ensure ease of doing business. There are four goods and services tax (GST ) rates: 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.

Rolled out on 1 July 2017, the GST had subsumed over a dozen local levies and transformed India into a single market with seamless flow of goods. In the first year of GST in 2017-18, the government earned Rs 7.41 lakh crore from the tax since its roll-out in July. The average monthly collection was Rs 89,885 crore. In the current fiscal, the collections in April touched a record Rs 1.03 trillion, followed by Rs 94,016 crore in May and Rs 95,610 crore in June.

Also, the council is likely to finalise the form for simplified return filing as was approved by the council in its last meeting on 4 May. It was decided that the current system of filing summary returns (GSTR-3B) and final sales returns (GSTR-1) would continue for six months. After that, a new return software would be ready; and in the second phase, the new return would have the facility for invoice-wise data upload and for claiming input tax credit on self-declaration basis, as in the case of GSTR-3B now.

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