In a major relief to trade and businesses, the GST Council, in its first meeting after the PM Narendra Modi government came back to power, extended the cut-off date for filing annual returns, by two months, to August 2019.
Easing the enrolment 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, it also made it mandatory for multiplexes to issue e-tickets.
The Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, extended the tenure of National Anti-Profiteering Authority by two more years to ensure companies pass on the benefits of lower GST rates to consumers.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey termed the decision as consumer-friendly.
"In order to ensure GST rate 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," he said.
The Council, however, deferred the decision on lowering the GST rate on electric vehicles from 12 per cent to 5 per cent and referred the issue to a committee of officers for further analysis. The issue of lower duty on electric chargers would also be discussed by the committee before taking a final call.
"Both these issues and the third proposal, on reducing the rate on the leasing of electric vehicles have been sent to the fitment committee, and it will deliberate on these proposals and come back to the GST Council on these proposals," the Revenue Secretary said.
Hectic lobbying by cement companies and builders, however, failed to convince the apex indirect tax body to cut the GST on cement from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.
The automobile sector also did not get any relief from the GST Council.