GST: ‘Number of tax slabs may drop if revenues improve’

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The Centre may look at bringing down the tax slabs under the GST regime as revenues improve, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal, said.

The GST currently has five tax slabs that include an exempted category (0 per cent rate) and four others with rates of 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent.

“The Centre may consider bringing down the number of tax slabs once it is convinced of improvement in revenues,” Meghwal said during an interactive session organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce.

According to Meghwal, the idea behind multiple tax slabs was to ensure that smaller businesses were not affected. Moreover, the aim of the Centre was to simplify the tax structures through GST by bringing all State governments on board.

“Previously there was a Union list, a State list and a concurrent list. But with GST there will be uniformity in terms of taxation. We could have taken decisions in the GST council on the basis of a majority but that was not done, as we wanted to bring the States on board,” the Minister said.

On the issue of extending fiscal incentives to specific tax-free manufacturing areas such as Guwahati, the minister said the matter was still under consideration. The GST council would wait for the first set of returns to be filed towards the end of August before taking a call.

“The GST council will take a call on whether to extend sops to such manufacturing zones or not. But, as of now, we are waiting for the returns to be filed before taking any calls,” he said.

New registrations

According to Meghwal, as many as 13.2 lakh new dealers have registered on the GST network (GSTN) post the roll-out. Incidentally, West Bengal has seen the highest number of dealer registrations in the country at 56,000.

Registered dealers, in the pre-GST regime, were around 80 lakh.

Meanwhile, the new Companies (Amendment) Bill will see strengthening of corporate governance norms, stricter actions against defaulters and an improvement in the ease of doing business.

The new amendment will also make it easier for companies to hold annual general meetings in places other than their registered addresses. So far, holding of AGMs in cities where the company is registered was mandatory.

“The Bill is likely to passed by the Rajya Sabha in the coming session,” Meghwal said during an interactive session at Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce.

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