GST Council Current Affairs

GST: Anti-profiteering Panel to be set up

The GST Council headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley comprising of state finance ministers as members have decided to set up a five-member anti-profiteering authority to decide on levying the penalty if businesses do not pass on the benefit of price reduction to consumers under GST regime. The GST Council has also approved the anti-profiteering rules.

Salient Highlights

The anti-profiteering committee would be headed by a retired secretary-level officer. The authority would ask the businesses to pass on the benefit of price reduction on a proportionate basis to consumers. Apart from the chairman, the other members of the committee will be joint secretary-level officers who have been commissioners in central excise and service tax either at the Centre or states.

The government will constitute a search-cum-selection committee for finalising the members of the anti-profiteering authority.

In cases where consumers cannot be identified, the amount would be credited to the consumer welfare fund.

The committee would be given powers to take Suo Motu action, besides acting on complaints of profiteering. The complaints of profiteering will initially come to the Standing Committee constituting of tax officials from states and the Centre. Then the complaint will be forwarded to the  Directorate of Safeguards (DGS) for investigation, which will take about 2-3 months to complete the inquiry. After the investigation, the report would be submitted to the anti-profiteering authority which will take a decision on the penalty.

The anti-profiteering authority will have a sunset date of two years and will decide on the penalty to be levied.

Section 171 of the Central GST Act provides that reduction in tax rate has to be passed on to the customers by way of commensurate reduction in prices.

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GST Council Finalises 4-slab Service Tax Structure

The GST Council headed by finance Minister Arun Jaitley has finalised a 4-slab service tax structure at the rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent as against the single rate of 15% levied on all taxable services. GST regime is scheduled to be implemented from July 1. In the next GST Council meeting, tax rates on gold and other precious metals will be taken up for discussion.

Salient Highlights

Luxury hotels, gambling, race club betting and cinema services will attract a tax rate of 28%.

Education, healthcare and non-AC rail travel will remain exempted from the GST tax regime. However, the states will be given the option to levy additional taxes on cinema to compensate for the revenue losses entailed due to merging of entertainment tax with GST. At present, the total tax incidence on cinema including entertainment and service tax is in the range of 55%. The states need to use the legislative route if it wants to levy additional tax on cinema.

States will also be permitted to levy any new tax as the taxation powers of the states have only been restricted and not abolished after the rollout of GST.

Telecom and financial services will be taxed at a rate of 18%.

Transport services will be taxed at the rate of 5%. Cab aggregators like Ola and Uber will have to pay 5% under GST in place of 6%. AC rail travel will attract 5% tax. Economy class air travel will attract 5 % GST while business class will attract 12%. Travelling on metro, local train and religious travel such as Haj Yatra would be exempted from GST.

The e-commerce players like Flipkart and Snapdeal would be required to shell out 1% Tax Collected at Source (TCS).

Non-AC restaurants and AC restaurants will attract a GST of 12% and 18% respectively.

Advertisements published in newspapers will attract 5% GST. At present it is exempt from service tax.

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