Goods and Services Tax (GST) Panel on 20 August 2014 decided to lower the threshold limit for imposing GST on entities to 10 lakhs rupees from the proposed 25 lakhs rupees. This was decided at the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST meet headed by Chairman Abdul Rahim in New Delhi. Abdul Rahim is the Finance Minister of Jammu & Kashmir.
GST Panel decided that the threshold limit should be 10 lakh rupees in respect of general category of States and 5 lakh rupees for special category and NE states.
Other highlights of the Meeting
- The Committee demanded from the Union government to specify GST compensation structure for five years in the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill.
- The Constitutional Amendment Bill must include a provision on compensating them for losses incurred on shifting to the new tax regime.
- Proposed to keep products such as petroleum, tobacco and alcohol out of GST ambit and demanded that the exemption list be included in the Constitutional Amendment Bill.
- As regards dual control, the Empowered Committee demanded legal powers, and not only administrative powers, to collect tax from businesses with an annual turnover of up to 1.5 crore rupees. In GST structure, taxpayers with annual turnover of over 1.5 crore rupees would be taxed by the Union government, which will later disburse the share of the states.
- The Empowered Committee also wanted some 13000 crore rupees to be transferred to the states as compensation from reduction in CST (central sales tax) and pointed out that this has been pending for two years.
- Empowered Committee would now meet the members of the 14th Finance Commission to apprise the Finance Commission about the impact of GST on revenues of the States.
Earlier in 2011, UPA government had introduced the 115th Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST in Lok Sabha. However, with the fall of the UPA government in May 2014, the bill lapsed and now a fresh Constitutional Amendment Bill will be introduced by the NDA Government in winter session of the Parliament in 2014.
Main Highlights of the 115th Constitutional Amendment Bill:
- The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution to provide for the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax (GST).
- The Bill allows both Parliament and state legislatures to frame laws with respect to GST. Parliament will have the exclusive power to levy GST on imports and inter-state trade.
- The Bill creates Goods and Services Tax Council consisting of state Finance Ministers, the Union Finance Minister, and Union Minister of State for Revenue to make recommendations with respect to GST.
- The Bill provides for a Dispute Settlement Authority to settle disputes between states or between states and the Union with regard to GST. Appeals from the Authority lie with the Supreme Court.
- The Bill exempts certain commodities from GST, including petroleum products and alcoholic liquor for human consumption.
The GST will subsume indirect taxes like excise duty and service tax at the central level and VAT on the states front, besides local levies. When implemented the country stands to gain 15 billion US dollars by way of revenue as it would promote exports, lead to employment generation and help in growth pick-up. It will divide the tax burden equitably between manufacturing and services.
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