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GST Council fixes 28% uniform tax rate for lottery

New Delhi: The GST Council on Wednesday resorted to voting for the first time to decide on an issue as it fixed a uniform tax rate of 28 per cent on both state and private lotteries.

Decisions in the previous 37 meetings of the GST Council, headed by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and comprising representatives of all states and UTs, had been taken unanimously. These included fixing of tax rates on dozens of goods and services, but never had voting been done to decide on any issue in two-and-a-half years of its existence.

However, when the issue of levy of GST on lottery came up at the 38th meeting of the council, consensus remained elusive, which led to a vote being taken to decide on the issue.

Briefing reporters after the meeting of the council, revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said the new rate for lottery will come into effect from March 2020.

The council meeting, chaired by Sitharaman, also rationalised tax rate on woven and non-woven bags to 18 per cent, he said, adding exemption has been given on long-term lease for industrial plots to facilitate setting up of industrial parks.

“The council also considered the rate of GST rate on woven and non-woven bags and sacks of polyethylene or polypropylene strips or the like, whether or not laminated, of a kind used for packing of goods in view of the requests received post the changes recommended on such goods in last meeting,” Pandey said.

It was recommended to raise the GST to a uniform rate of 18 per cent from 12 per cent on all such bags falling under HS 3923/6305 including flexible intermediate bulk containers, he said, adding this change shall become effective from January 1, 2020.

The panel also relaxed levy of penalty for non-filing of GSTR-1 from July 2017, he said.

“It also decided to exempt upfront amount payable for long-term lease of industrial/financial infrastructure plots by an entity having 20 per cent or more ownership of central or state government… This change shall become effective from January 1, 2020,” he said.

Presently, the exemption is available to an entity having 50 per cent or more ownership of central or state government.

Briefing some other procedural changes, the revenue secretary said grievance redressal committees will be constituted at zonal/state levels with both CGST and SGST officers and including representatives of trade and industry and other GST stakeholders.

These committees will address grievances of specific/ general nature of taxpayers at the zonal/ state level, he said.

To check the menace of fake invoices, suitable action will be taken for blocking of fraudulently availed input tax credit in certain situations, he said.

Due date of filing GST returns for the month of November 2019 will be extended in respect of a few northeastern states, he said, adding the council also approved various law amendments which will be introduced in budget 2020.

A presentation was made to the 38th GST council on the issue of revenue, GST rate structure and compensation needs of the states.

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