GST Council withdraws exemption on host of items



Chandigarh: Pre-packed and labelled wheat flour, papad, paneer, curd and buttermilk will be taxed at 5 per cent after the GST Council decided to stop allowing exemptions on such items while raising rates on a host of others. The GST Council, at a two-day meeting here, accepted recommendations for rate rationalisation made by different groups appointed by it, resulting in tax changes, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters. The tax rate changes will come into effect from July 18.
However, the council decided to refer the report of the GoM (Group of Ministers) on casinos, online gaming and horse racing back to the panel of ministers for further deliberation.
The finance minister of Goa wanted further discussions on GST rate to be applicable on casinos and in that context both online gaming and horse racing too would be relooked. The panel had recommended 28 per cent GST levy on all three activities and equalled them to gambling.
The report is expected to be ready by july 15 and would be taken up by the council in its next meeting in August.
The ending of exemption would mean pre-packed and labelled meat (except frozen), fish, paneer, lassi, honey, dried leguminous vegetables, dried makhana, wheat and other cereals and puffed rice (muri) will now attract a 5 per cent tax.
Similarly, an 18 per cent GST will be levied on tetra packs, fees charged by banks for the issue of cheques (loose or in book form). Maps and charts including atlases will attract a 12 per cent levy. Goods that are unpacked, unlabelled and unbranded will continue to remain exempt from GST.
Besides, a 12 per cent tax will be levied on hotel rooms costing less than Rs 1,000 a day. At present, this falls under exempted category.
A 5 per cent GST will be levied on hospital room rent above Rs 5,000 per day(excluding ICU).
Tax rates have been raised to 18 per cent on products such as printing, writing or drawing ink; knives with cutting blades, paper knives and pencil sharpeners; LED lamps, drawing and marking out instruments.
Solar water heater will now attract 12 per cent GST as compared to 5 per cent earlier.
Some services such as work contracts for roads, bridges, railways, metro, effluent treatment plants and crematoriums too will see tax going up to 18 per cent from the current 12 per cent.
Tax has, however, been cut on the transport of goods and passengers by ropeways to 5 per cent and on ostomy appliances to 5 per cent from 12 per cent.
Renting of truck, goods carriage where the cost of fuel is included will now attract a lower 12 per cent rate as against 18 per cent.
GST exemption on the transport of passengers by air to and from north-eastern states and Bagdogra has now been restricted to economy class.
Services rendered by regulators such as RBI, IRDA and SEBI will be taxed and so will be on renting of a residential dwelling to business entities.
Also, electric vehicles whether or not fitted with a battery pack, are eligible for the concessional GST rate of 5 per cent.
The GST council also decided to ease process for intra-state supplies made through e-commerce portals. Now such suppliers will not have to obtain GST registration, if their turnover is lower than Rs 40 lakh and Rs 20 lakh for goods and services, respectively. This would come into effect from january 1, 2023.
The council has also decided to constitute a group of ministers to address various concerns raised by the states in relation to constitution of the GST Appellate Tribunal and make recommendations for appropriate amendments in CGST Act.
The GoM on IT reforms, inter alia, recommended that the GSTN should put in place the AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) based mechanism to verify the antecedents of the registration applicants and an improved risk-based monitoring of their behaviour post registration so that non-compliant tax payers could be identified in their infancy and appropriate action be taken so as to minimise risk to exchequer.