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Nirmala Sitharaman’s first GST council meet today: What to expect

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New Delhi, June 21: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to chair her first meeting of the GST council on Friday. The newly appointed finance minister will preside over a gamut of issues including extending the tenure of the anti-profiteering authority by a year, setting up a single point refund system and a mechanism for businesses to issue e-invoices.

File photo of Nirmala Sitharaman

The agenda of the meeting will also include integration of GST e-way bill system with NHAI's FASTag mechanism from April 1, 2020, to help track movement of goods and check GST evasion.

Sitharaman, who took over the reigns of Finance Ministry from Arun Jaitley last month, will preside over the 35th meeting of the GST Council, which is a federal decision making body comprising of state finance ministers.

GST rate on lottery

The Council will also consider tweaking GST rate on lottery. An 8-member group of state finance ministers could not reach a consensus on whether a uniform tax rate should be imposed on lotteries or the current differential tax rate system be continued.

Currently, a state-organised lottery attracts 12 per cent GST, while a state-authorised lottery attracts 28 per cent tax.

GST refunds

Also, the Council is likely to discuss a mechanism for single-point sanctioning and processing GST refunds.

The current mechanism entails twin refund sanctioning authority of the central and state tax officers but that could well change by August when the proposed new structure involving a single authority comes in place.

Appellate Authority

The Council would also deliberate on setting up a national bench of the Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling to reconcile the contradictory orders on similar issues passed by the Authority for Advance Ruling in different states, a move aimed at providing certainty to taxpayers.

GST rates

To give a push to manufacturing electric vehicles, the Council will consider slashing GST rates to 5 per cent from 12 per cent, the official said.

GST rate for petrol and diesel cars and hybrid vehicles is already at the highest bracket of 28 per cent plus cess.

NAA tenure

The Council will also consider extending the tenure of the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) by a year till November 30, 2020, as the authority continues to receive consumer complaints of profiteering against companies.

The NAA came into existence on November 30, 2017, after its Chairman B N Sharma assumed charge. So far, the NAA has passed 67 orders in various cases.

Anti-evasion proposal

The Council would also consider another anti-evasion proposal of issuance of e-invoices on a centralised government portal by businesses with turnover of Rs 50 crore and above for B2B sales.

An analysis of return filing shows that as many as 68,041 businesses have reported a turnover of over Rs 50 crore and accounted for 66.6 per cent of total GST paid in 2017-18.

e-way bill

Transporters of goods worth over Rs 50,000 would be required to present an e-way bill during transit to a GST inspector, if asked.

However, lack of harmonisation under the 'track and trace' mechanism in terms of sharing information among different agencies is leading to misuse of e-way bill.

OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)

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