GST Council Meeting 2021: The goods and services tax (GST) Council meeting was held today after a gap of almost eight months, amid the ranging second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. While addressing a press conference after the Council meeting concluded, Ms Sitharaman announced that the integrated goods and services tax (IGST) is exempted on free COVID-related essential items till August 31, 2021. (Also Read: Decision On Tax Cuts On Covid Vaccines By June 8, Says Government )
The Finance Minister announced that a group of ministers will deliberate on the tax rates of COVID vaccines, medicines, and other such essential supplies on June 8, 2021. Some of the major takeaways from the 43rd GST Council meeting - the first GST meet in the current financial year 2021-22, are as follows:
- Due to the surge in the number of Black Fungus cases across the country, the duty on import of the medicine- Amphotericin B, used to cure Black Fungus, is exempted.
- The Amnesty Scheme was announced to reduce late fee returns. Under this scheme, small taxpayers can file pending returns. The late fee for non-furnishing Form GSTR-3B for the tax periods between July 2017 - April 2021 is reduced
- In order to reduce the burden of late fee on smaller taxpayers, the upper cap of late fee is now rationalized to align the late fee with tax liability or turnover of the taxpayers
- The annual return filing for the financial year 2020-21 is simplified, to ease the compliance requirement in furnishing reconciliation statements in Form GSTR-9C. Taxpayers will be able to self-certify the reconciliation statement, instead of getting it certified by chartered accountants.
- The finance minister also announced that the central government will borrow a sum of Rs 1.58 lakh crore to compensate the states for the loss of revenue from GST.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 43rd GST Council meet today through a video conference and representatives including seniors officials and finance ministers of states and union territories attended the meeting.
What analysts say:
''While the compliance relief is likely to benefit around 89 per cent of the taxpayers, much was expected from the GST Council, as it met after more than six months.
While all the recommendations may provide temporary reliefs to the taxpayers, some important aspects like correction of duty inversion, entitlement to ITC vis-à-vis vaccination for employees, and extension in due dates for GST returns remain eluded,'' said Mr Saket Patawari, Executive Director–Indirect Tax, Nexdigm.