The 32nd Goods and Services Tax Council meeting, chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday, announced various changes with significant relief to small businesses and enterprises. Here is a list of announcements made by the government:
Higher exemption threshold limit for goods suppliers
The council approved doubling of the exemption threshold under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to Rs 40 lakh along with raising the turnover limit under composition scheme to Rs 1.5 crore from current Rs 1 crore with effect from April 1. States, however, will have the option to choose between the two exemption thresholds of Rs 20 lakh and Rs 40 lakh and will have to intimate their decision within a week.
Turnover Limit increased for existing Composition Scheme
The limit for annual turnover for availing composition scheme for goods will be increased to Rs. 1.5 crores. The special category states comprising of northeastern states, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are given one week time to decide upon the composition limit in their respective states.
Under the composition scheme, traders and manufacturers can pay taxes at a concessional rate of 1 per cent, while restaurants pay 5 per cent GST. There are over 1.17 crore businesses which have registered under the GST, which was rolled out from July 1, 2017. Of these over 18 lakh have opted for composition scheme. While a regular taxpayer has to pay taxes on a monthly basis, a composition supplier is required to pay taxes on a quarterly basis and is not required to keep detailed records compares with a normal taxpayer under GST.
Accounting and Billing Software
Free of cost accounting and billing software shall be made available to small taxpayers by Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN).
It is decided that a seven-member group of ministers will be constituted to examine the proposal of giving a composition scheme to boost the residential segment of the real estate sector.
Revenue mobilisation for natural calamities
The Council also allowed Kerala to levy a 1 per cent disaster cess on intra-state sale of goods and services for a period of up to two years to mobilise revenues to meet the cost of rehabilitating parts of states that were ravaged by floods last year.
Also, a group of ministers shall be constituted to examine the GST rate structure on lotteries.