GST Council Meet: Tax Cut On COVID Essentials, Black Fungus Medicine On Agenda

GST Council Meeting 2021: In the previous GST Council meeting, the tax was exempted on the import of Amphotericin B, a medicine used for the treatment of black fungus infection.

GST Council Meeting 2021: Finance Minister will chair the 44th GST Council virtually tomorrow

GST Council Meeting 2021: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will chair the 44th goods and service tax (GST) Council meeting on Saturday, June 12, through video conferencing, which is expected to decide on tax cuts for COVID-19 essential items and the black fungus medicine. The GST Council meeting will be conducted at 11 am in New Delhi and will be attended by the Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, along with senior officials of the government as well as finance ministers of various states and Union territories. (Also Read: Black Fungus Medicine Exempted From Tax: Key Takeaways From GST Council Meet )
 

In its previous meeting on May 28, the GST Council referred the decision over the tax rates on COVID vaccines to a group of ministers (GoM). The GST Council meeting will discuss the report of the GOM tomorrow, headed by Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, on GST concessions on COVID-19 essential items such as medical grade oxygen, hand sanitisers, pulse oximeters, ventilators, among others. The ministers also discussed drugs, vaccines, medicines for the treatment of COVID-19, and testing kits for detection.

Presently, a five per cent GST is levied on the domestically manufactured vaccines, while it is 12 per cent for COVID-19 drugs and oxygen concentrators. In the previous GST Council meeting, the tax was exempted on the import of Amphotericin B, a medicine used for the treatment of black fungus infection.

The 43rd GST council meeting on May 28 was held after a gap of almost eight months. The previous one - 42nd GST Council meeting, was conducted last year, on October 5, 2020.

''It is expected that in lines with the fitment committee's suggestions, the GoM empowered to look into the GST relief on COVID-19 related drugs and other items have opted for a blanket rate of five per cent even for other items (drugs already attract five per cent). Complete exemption is likely to be counter- productive. Anyway, GST reduction will not directly benefit people who are getting the vaccines for free (which today comprises the majority),'' said Mr Saket Patawari, Executive Director–Indirect Tax, Nexdigm 

''It may further be worthwhile to analyze whether a refund can be granted to the final supplier in the supply chain discharging GST but not collecting from buyer. Under the current GST law and framework this is not possible. Hence, refund may have to be granted outside of GST law subject to non- collection from taxpayers.  This can help in avoiding any disruptions pertaining to credit and also ensure that passing of GST cost on end consumers can be viably avoided,'' added Mr Patawari.