GST Council meeting tomorrow: Here’s what’s on agenda

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The 49th meeting of the GST Council is scheduled to be held in Delhi on 18 February, Saturday. Chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the meeting is likely to discuss setting up appellate tribunals and mechanisms to curb tax evasion in pan masala and gutkha business.

These tribunals will have one judicial and one technical member from either the Centre or the states to ensure equity in membership.

The much-awaited report by the Group of Ministers on online gaming and the GST appellate tribunal is unlikely to be submitted in the upcoming meeting.

The 49th meeting of the Council is being held after the presentation of the union budget earlier this month which offered to extend the 50-year interest-free loan to states for another year to enable their capital spending.

The Centre is keen to explore if the GST rate on cement could be lowered from the current 28%. Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said earlier this month that a panel of officers will look into it. This, however, is unlikely to be taken up at the meeting on Saturday.

The 48th Meeting of the GST Council was held on December 17, 2022, through video conference.

At the last meeting, the GST Council recommended decriminalising three different types of offences, including the tampering of material evidence.

They pertain to obstructing or preventing any officers in the discharge of their duties, deliberate tampering with material evidence, and failure to supply information.

The other major decision taken at the meeting was regarding the threshold limit of tax amount for launching prosecution on any criminal offence defined under the GST laws that has been increased from 1 crore to 2 crore. This, however, would not be applicable to those offences such as fake invoicing.

Moreover, GST rates on pulses husk and knives were reduced from 5% to nil.

GST on ethyl alcohol for the purpose of blending ethanol was exempted. Earlier, it was taxed at 18%.

Goods and Services Tax was introduced in the country with effect from July 1, 2017 and states were assured compensation for loss of any revenue arising on account of the implementation of GST as per the provisions of the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 for a period of five years.

For providing compensation to States, Cess is levied on certain goods and the amount of Cess collected is credited to Compensation Fund. Compensation to States is being paid out of the Compensation Fund with effect from July 1, 2017.

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