The GST Council has approved changes in tax rates on some goods and services while allowing states to issue an e-way bill for intra-state movement of gold and precious stones.
The Council, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and comprising state counterparts, also cleared a host of compliance procedures for GST-registered businesses along with a GoM report on high-risk tax payers to check evasion. Opposition-ruled states have been pressing for either extension of the GST compensation regime or increasing states’ share in revenue from the current 50 per cent.
Council accepted the interim report of the group of state finance ministers, headed by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai, on rate rationalisation, including correction of inverted duty structure and removing tax exemption on some items, to simplify the rate structure.
The GoM had suggested withdrawal of GST exemption on a host of services including on hotel accommodation of less than Rs 1,000 per day and replacing it with a 12 per cent tax. It also recommended a levy of 5 per cent GST on room rent (excluding ICU) charged for hospitalised patients where the hospital room charges are above Rs 5,000 per day.
It wanted all post office services other than postcards and inland letters, book post and envelopes weighing less than 10 gm, to be taxed. Also, cheques, loose or in book form should be taxed at 18 per cent, the GoM recommended.
With regard to e-way bill on intra-state movement of gold, jewellery and precious stones to check evasion, the Council recommended that states can decide on the threshold above which the electronic bill is to be made mandatory. A panel of state ministers had recommended the threshold to be Rs 2 lakh and above.