Home India News GST Council Meeting: Railway platform tickets exempted from GST, biometric authentication push, and other key decisions

GST Council Meeting: Railway platform tickets exempted from GST, biometric authentication push, and other key decisions

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At its 53rd GST Council Meeting in New Delhi, the council resolved to introduce nationwide biometric authentication to tackle counterfeit invoicing. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman disclosed retrospective changes to input tax credit timelines under the CGST Act starting from July 2017. This session, the first under the new government, also tackled operational matters and proposed standard GST rates for milk cans and carton boxes.

Rationalization of GST Rates

One of the key highlights of the meeting was the rationalization of GST rates. The Council decided to reduce the tax rates on several items to provide relief to consumers and boost demand. Notably, the GST rate on electric vehicles (EVs) was reduced from 18% to 12%, aligning with the government’s push towards promoting green energy and sustainable transportation.

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Additionally, the tax rates on certain medical devices and essential health products were slashed. The Council reduced the GST on diagnostic kits and reagents from 12% to 5%, making healthcare more affordable and accessible. This move was widely welcomed by the healthcare industry and is expected to benefit consumers significantly.

Measures for MSMEs

Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have long been the backbone of India’s economy. Recognizing their critical role, the GST Council announced a series of measures to support these businesses. The Council decided to extend the Composition Scheme, which allows small businesses to pay GST at a lower rate, to include more sectors. This will simplify compliance for a larger number of small enterprises and reduce their tax burden.

Furthermore, the Council approved a proposal to simplify the filing of GST returns for MSMEs. A new quarterly return filing system will be introduced, which will ease the compliance process and reduce the administrative burden on small businesses. This move is expected to enhance ease of doing business and promote growth in the MSME sector.

E-Invoicing Mandate Expansion

To improve transparency and curb tax evasion, the GST Council expanded the mandate for e-invoicing. Currently applicable to businesses with an annual turnover of over ₹20 crore, e-invoicing will now be extended to those with a turnover of ₹10 crore and above. This step aims to integrate more businesses into the digital ecosystem, ensuring better compliance and reducing fraud.

E-invoicing has been effective in streamlining invoicing processes and providing real-time data to tax authorities. By lowering the threshold, the Council aims to cover a broader spectrum of businesses, thereby increasing the overall efficiency of the GST system.

Clarifications on Input Tax Credit

Input Tax Credit (ITC) remains a complex area for many businesses. The Council addressed several ambiguities related to ITC eligibility and utilization. A key clarification was issued regarding the ITC on goods and services used for CSR activities. The Council confirmed that ITC would be available for such expenditures, providing much-needed clarity to businesses engaged in corporate social responsibility.

Additionally, the Council clarified the ITC rules for real estate developers, allowing them to claim credits on construction materials used for affordable housing projects. This decision is expected to lower the cost of construction and encourage the development of more affordable housing units.

GST Compensation Cess Extension

The meeting also saw a crucial decision regarding the GST Compensation Cess. To support states in managing their revenue shortfall due to the GST implementation, the Council extended the levy of the Compensation Cess until March 2026. This extension will ensure that states continue to receive necessary financial support, allowing them to manage their fiscal responsibilities effectively.

Industry Reactions

The decisions taken at the 53rd GST Council meeting have garnered mixed reactions from various industry stakeholders. The reduction in GST rates on EVs and medical devices has been widely praised, with industry leaders expressing optimism about increased consumer demand and investment in these sectors.

MSMEs have welcomed the measures aimed at simplifying compliance and reducing tax burdens. The extension of the Composition Scheme and the introduction of quarterly return filing are expected to provide significant relief to small businesses, fostering growth and stability in the sector.

However, some industry representatives have expressed concerns about the expanded e-invoicing mandate, citing the need for adequate time and resources to adapt to the new system. The government has assured businesses of necessary support and a phased implementation to address these concerns.

The 53rd GST Council meeting has taken several pivotal decisions aimed at simplifying tax processes, supporting MSMEs, and enhancing revenue collection. By addressing key industry concerns and providing much-needed clarifications, the Council continues to play a crucial role in shaping India’s tax landscape. As these decisions are implemented, businesses and consumers alike will be closely watching their impact on the economy and the overall ease of doing business in the country.

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