The GST Council recommended many relief measures regarding GST rates on goods and services, in the meeting held today.
Here are the highlights:
* Simplification of the return filing process. It was felt that the filing of form 3B should continue. And along with that, the sellers or suppliers load their invoices. They just give the details of who they supplied to. If there is a discrepancy between the buyer and the seller, then they can explain that at a later date. It will work as a deterrent against evasion that the invoices must match the 3B filings. This was discussed, but a decision on this was not taken. It will be taken up in the next meeting, which will be through video conference, the date of which has not been set.
* The council took note of the fact that the trial run of the e-way bill system took off on Jan 15 and committed to the Feb 1 rollout across the country. The Council also reviewed GST collections and the opinion so far was that we have been relying on unilateral declarations by traders and that we need to build in anti-evasion measures. The e-way bill will be one such measure.
* The fitment committee made recommendations about 29 goods and 53 categories of services, which were accepted. The new rates will come into effect on January 25. The composition scheme was seriously discussed and the collections under the scheme were a matter of concern. So far 17 lakh dealers have registered under the scheme and the collections in the first quarter was only Rs. 307 crore. There has not been a very enthusiastic response to the scheme. Most of the people who have registered under the scheme have a declared income of less than Rs. 20 lakh a year. There seems to be under declaration.
* The large amount of IGST credit was considered. It was decided provisionally that Rs. 35,000 crore of this credit would be divided between the centre and the states. This will ease the indirect tax position of the centre and the states.
* On falling GST revenue, Mr. Jaitley said: I am quite sure that with the anti evasion measures we are putting in place, the revenue will pick up. So far, the figures you have seen are on voluntary compliance without any anti evasion measures. That we are putting such measures in place should suggest something. The inclusion of real estate was not discussed in this meeting.