GST Council cuts rate on 29 goods, 53 services and discussed approaches to ease ‘Return Filing’

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The Goods and Services Tax- GST Council has reduced the rates on 29 goods and 53 categories of services, Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said following the Council’s meeting on 18 January, 2018. The Council also discussed in detail various approaches to ease the return filing compliance burden, and the need for the implementation of anti-evasion measures.
Some of the services for which the rates have been cut include tailoring (18% to 5%), admission to theme parks (28% to 18%), and petroleum and natural gas mining and exploration (18% to 12%). The goods on which the rates have been reduced include biodiesel buses used for public transport (28% to 18%), sugar boiled confectionery, biodiesel, drinking water packed in 20 litre containers (all from 18% to 12%), and LPG supplied to domestic consumers by private distributors (18% to 5%). The new rates would come into effect on January 25.

Shri Jaitley said that while the latest round of rate reductions would have an affect on the Centre’s revenues, the impact would be small. “It was the opinion of the Council that so far we have relied on unilateral declarations by traders,” he said. “It was agreed that there is a need to build in anti-evasion measures. The e-waybill system [to be rolled out on February 01] will be one of these. As these anti-evasion measures are implemented, the revenues should start picking up again.”

Regarding easing the compliance burden, Shri Jaitley said that the Council was considering systems where the invoices of the buyers and sellers could be matched easily. “The suggestion was that the filing of the form 3B should continue,” he added.
“The sellers or suppliers should also load their invoices and give the details of whom the supplies were made to. This should act as a deterrent [against evasion] that the details in the invoices and the form 3B must match. Initially, the system would be of the form 3B and a suppliers’ invoice. It will be a very easy system.” Shri Jaitley, however, said that no decision had been taken in this regard and that the Council would take it up during its next meeting, the date for which had not been decided as yet.