'Centre following roadmap to roll out GST in 2017'

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New Delhi, Sep 30: The central government is following the roadmap to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the targeted deadline of April 1, 2017, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.

"Government is working on a target date of April 1, 2017, for the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country," Jaitley said in his opening remarks while chairing a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to the Finance Ministry.

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According to a release here by the ministry, Jaitley said the Constitution (101st Amendment) Act, 2016, empowers the central and state governments to levy taxes till September 16, 2017, that is one year after the provisions of the GST Act came into force.

"Government is following the roadmap for the implementation of GST as per the schedule," the minister added.

He also told the panel that the first meeting of GST Council was held in a cordial and federal spirit, and hoped all pending issues will be thrashed out in due course for a uniform pan-India indirect tax regime to take effect.

Last week's meeting had agreed to resolve all issues by the third week of November.

"Today, starting from September 22, we have roughly two months' time till November 22 to resolve all the outstanding issues. Therefore, a draft timetable has been given, which also has been adopted," Jaitley said following the GST Council meeting.

He said the issue of threshold limit in terms of turnover to exempt smaller firms from the system, and the actual rates of taxes on various commodities needed to be reconciled.

The target roll-out of GST will depend on the passage of the Central GST and the Integrated and GST (IGST) bills in parliament and the respective state GST bills by each state.

The GST Council will decide on the tax rate, and will recommend the taxes to be subsumed and exempted from the GST, the rates of taxation and the model Central, State and Integrated GST laws.

It will also decide the threshold for levy of the tax, as well as the dispute resolution mechanism, among other important issues.

The GST is a single indirect tax that proposes to subsume most central and state taxes like the Value Added Tax, service tax, central sales tax, excise duty, additional customs duty and special additional customs duty.

The states will, however, be able to adopt a GST structure that is different from that recommended by the GST Council and the council recommendations will not be binding on the states.

The bill says the GST Council will make recommendations to the Centre and the states on issues such as taxes, cess and surcharges that might be subsumed in the GST tax rate.

Parliament and state assemblies have the right to accept those recommendations in their GST Bills.

IANS

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