Friday, September 23, 2016

GST threshold fixed at Rs 20 lakh, rate to be decided in Oct

In a big step forward on the implementation of Goods and Services Tax, the Centre and states, reached an agreement on keeping traders with annual revenue of up to Rs 20 lakh out of the new national sales tax regime that will subsume all cesses.
 There will be an exception for North-Eastern and the hill states where the limit will be Rs 10 lakh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday. While the two sides, at the meeting of the GST Council, agreed on the contentious issues of revenue threshold – below which traders will be exempted from GST, and sharing of administrative powers, the all crucial GST rates will be decided in the meeting to be held on October 17-19.

 Resolving issues over dual control over small traders, it decided that states will have exclusive control over all dealers up to a revenue threshold of Rs 1.5 crore in a year. A mechanism would be worked out for traders above Rs 1.5 crore to ensure that a dealer is regulated either by the central government or the state government and not both. 

Broad principles for compensating states for any loss of revenue when the new regime is rolled out from April 1, 2017 were also discussed at the two day meeting of the panel that is headed by the Union finance minister and includes representatives of all states. 

 On service tax, it was decided that in the absence of expertise with states, the Centre will continue to exercise control over all the 11 lakh service tax registered dealers irrespective of their revenue levels, he said. Jaitley said the next meeting on September 30 will finalise the draft rules regarding implementation of exemptions. 

While 2015-16 will be the base year for calculating revenue compensating to states for any loss of revenue arising from rollout of GST, the final methodology will be worked out in next meetings, he said. The exemption list has also been cut down to 90 items from the current 300 goods and services. Also, the meeting decided that all cesses will be subsumed in the GST, Jaitley said. 

At the end of two-day maiden meeting of the GST Council, Jaitley said it was decided that state authorities will have jurisdiction over assessees with annual turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore. For those with turnover of over Rs 1.5 crore, there would be cross examination either by officers from the Centre or states to avoid dual control.

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