Guwahati, Saturday, June 22, 2019
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GST Council extends return filing dates, refers rate cut for EVs to a panel

 NEW DELHI, June 22: In a major relief to trade and businesses, the all-powerful GST Council in its first meeting after the Modi government came back to power extended the cut-off date for filing annual returns for FY18 by two months to August, 2019.

Easing the enrollment process for new firms, the Council decided to allow the use of 12-digit Aadhaar number for getting GST registration. In order to check tax evasion, the Council made it now mandatory for registered multiplexes to issue e-tickets. The electronic invoicing system would be rolled out in a phase-wise manner for B2B transactions.

The proposal to slash GST on electric vehicles (EVs) from 12% to 5% has been sent to a rate fitment committee and the issue would be taken up in the next GST Council meeting. The issue related to valuation of goods and services in a solar power generating system and wind turbine would also be taken up first by the panel of officers.

The Council chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman extended the tenure of National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) by two more years to ensure companies pass on the benefits of lower GST rates to consumers.

Addressing press conference after the meeting, Revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey termed the decision as consumer-friendly.

"In order to ensure GST rates cuts are actually passed on to customers and no anti-profiteering takes place the current provision is that only the penalty of Rs 25,000 will be imposed in addition to the profiteered amount. So, the change approved by the Council is that now if profiteered amount is not deposited within 30 days, then the penalty to the extent of 10 per cent of the profiteered amount will be imposed on the company," Pandey said.

The Council also took a decision regarding location of the State and the Area Benches for the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) for various states and Union Territories with legislature.

"It has been decided to have a common State Bench for the States of Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh," a finance ministry statement said.

Hectic lobbying by cement companies and builders, however, failed to convince the apex indirect tax body to cut GST on cement from 28 per cent to 18 per cent. The automobile sector also did not get any relief from the GST Council.

Industry body Ficci welcomed various GST Council decisions saying it will ease compliance burden.

"The thought process laid by the Government regarding its endeavor to bring more items in the ambit of GST regime including simplification of GST Rules and rationalization of rates is indeed a step in the right direction and would pave the way for simplification and stability under the GST regime," it noted. - IANS

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