GST Council Meeting Underway: Wherever Tax Relief Expected?
GST Council Meeting Underway: Wherever Tax Relief Expected?

The 53rd meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is underway and expected to consider several important tax measures. These discussions could set the stage for broader tax reforms in the upcoming full budget of Modi 3.0.

Key Discussion Points
Utilization of GST Compensation Cess: One of the major topics on the agenda is the allocation of the GST compensation cess collected from "sin goods" like pan masala, cigarettes, and other similar products. The collected amount could be as much as Rs 70,000 crore.

Tax Waivers: The council will also consider the possibility of conditionally waiving interest or penalties on tax notices issued between 2017 and 2020, except in cases of willful default.

Online Gaming Taxation: Another significant issue is the review of the 28 percent GST on the full value of bets for online gaming companies. This tax rate came into effect on October 1, 2023, and has led to substantial tax liabilities for the industry.

Proposed Reforms
Streamlining Processes: The council aims to streamline timelines for issuing tax notices, establish monetary thresholds for pursuing disputes in the GST Appellate Tribunal, and set deadlines for anti-profiteering cases. These measures are designed to reduce tax litigation and improve the ease of doing business.

Impact on Various Sectors
These proposed changes are expected to benefit sectors like online gaming, insurance firms, banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), airlines, and shipping companies, which have been dealing with significant tax burdens.

Windfall from Sin Goods
The central government could gain an unexpected Rs 70,000 crore windfall from the GST compensation cess on sin goods. Even after repaying loans taken during the Covid-19 period, a substantial amount would remain.

Corporate Guarantees and Fertilizers
Corporate Guarantees: The GST Council will review the decision to levy an 18 percent GST on guarantees provided by corporations to their subsidiaries, following a stay by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Fertilizers: The council will also discuss potential reductions in GST for fertilizers and raw materials, following recommendations from the Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers. Currently, fertilizers are taxed at 5 percent, while raw materials like Sulfuric Acid and Ammonia are taxed at 18 percent.

Clarification for Telecom Companies
The GST Council is likely to clarify that telecom companies must pay GST on the installments paid for spectrum charges, aiming to resolve confusion in the current tax regime.

The GST Council's 53rd meeting, held after an eight-month gap, is crucial for setting the direction of future tax reforms. The outcomes of this meeting will likely have significant implications for various sectors and the overall tax landscape in India.

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