GST relief for SMEs, exporters

Three months after the rollout of the new indirect tax regime, the GST Council on Friday made sweeping changes to give relief to small and medium businesses on filing and payment of taxes, eased rules for exporters and cut tax rates on more than two dozen items.

Businesses with annual turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore, which constitute 90 per cent of the taxpayer base but pay only 5-6 per cent of total tax, have been allowed to file quarterly income returns and pay tax instead of the current provision of monthly filings.

Also, the turnover threshold for businesses to avail of the composition scheme that allows them to pay 1-5 per cent tax without going through tedious formalities, was raised to Rs 1 crore from current Rs 75 lakh.

“Compliance burden of medium and small taxpayers in GST is being reduced,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told after the 22nd meeting of the Council.

Small and medium enterprises had complained of tedious compliance burden under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was supposed to be a simple indirect tax regime which replaced over a dozen Central and state taxes.

Jaitley said the Council also decided to cut GST rate on 27 common use items.

GST on unbranded namkeen, unbranded ayurvedic medicine, sliced dried mango and khakra has been cut to 5 per cent from 12 per cent, while the same on man-made yarn used in textile sector has been reduced to 12 per cent from 18 per cent.

Tax on stationery items, stones used for flooring (other than marble and granite), diesel engine parts and pump parts has been cut to 18 per cent from 28 per cent. GST on e-waste has been slashed to 5 per cent from 28 per cent.

Food packets given to school kids under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) will attract 5 per cent tax instead of 12 per cent.

Job works like zari, imitation, food items and printing items would attract 5 per cent tax instead of 12 per cent.

Government contracts involving high amount of labour will be levied 5 per cent GST instead of 12 per cent in order to contain cost of those programmes, he said.

(Agencies)

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