Simplification of GST return filing procedure by merging some of the returns, invoice matching, technological support for e-way bill before its mandatory rollout from February 1 and centralised registration for big service providers are some of the issues to be discussed by the GST Council as it meets for the 25th time Thursday.
The Council will discuss a range of legal amendments required in the GST-related laws, so that the government can push through the changes in the Budget session of Parliament, which starts on January 29.
In its last meeting before the Union Budget for 2018-19, the GST Council will also consider reduction in GST rates for goods and services such as agricultural implements in view of the representations received from various interest groups.
The Council’s law review committee, which was constituted in November with representatives from both states and the Centre, recommended about 16 changes in GST-related laws after taking feedback from various trade and industry bodies, law advisory group and the Department of Revenue under Ministry of Finance. The changes, if approved by the GST Council, would be incorporated in the Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) Acts and similar changes in the SGST Act would be drafted.
Among the major changes proposed by the law review committee is the centralised registration for large service providers operating across ten or more states with an annual aggregate turnover exceeding Rs 500 crore instead of multiple registrations in every place of operation at present. If approved, it would benefit large service providers in sectors such as insurance, banking, railways and airlines.
The committee has also recommended broadening of certain categories for availment of input tax credit and restricting levy of the controversial reverse charge mechanism — under which tax liability lies on the recipient rather than the unregistered supplier — to only certain category of unregistered suppliers as against the earlier proposal to levy it for all unregistered suppliers.
The committee has also proposed delinking invoice-wise data matching from the GST returns and conducting it over a quarterly period than a monthly system. The Council has recommended that the taxpayers with annual turnover below Rs. 1.5 crores may file only a quarterly return, while filing of a monthly return by all other categories be continued.
Among other things, the Council will also review the preparedness of GST Network (GSTN) in handling the return filing process as well as for implementing the e-way bill system with effect from February 1. Under the GST regime, rolled out from July last year, inter-state road transport of goods exceeding Rs 50,000 in value and beyond 10 km, will mandatorily require e-way bill from February 1. The deadline for rolling out e-way bill system for intra-state movement of goods has been fixed as June 1.
GSTN, along with NIC, has launched a trial run for e-way bill mechanism from Tuesday. 10 states–Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Kerala, Haryana, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Sikkim and Jharkhand–have already joined the trial run of e-way bill.
The Council’s meeting was preceded by a pre-Budget discussion between states and Centre this morning. Finance ministers/ministers from 14 states and union legislatures such as Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat participated in the pre-Budget meeting between Centre and states.