The 33rd meeting of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Wednesday remained inconclusive and has been adjourned to meet again on Sunday as some states asked for detailed discussion in the form of a physical meeting.
Wednesday’s meeting was held through video conferencing, wherein some states cited possible revenue loss, valuation of land and change in sourcing norms for real estate developers as the contentious issues in lowering the GST rate on residential housing.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads the GST Council, said he adjourned the meeting keeping the idea of consensus in mind. The proposal to have a uniform rate on lottery was not discussed in the meeting and both the issues related to lottery and real estate will be discussed now on Sunday.
“The discussion which remained incomplete today through video conferencing, few ministers expressed their opinion and the rest will express their opinion and we will try and take a decision on this issue on Sunday. So the meeting stands adjourned as of day for Sunday…I have always had an approach of moving as per consensus and since some of the states wanted a meeting where members are physically present, keeping the idea of consensus in mind I adjourned the meeting to Sunday so that a physical meeting can be held and the same issue will be discussed on Sunday,” Jaitley told reporters after the meeting.
Ahead of the 33rd Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting, close to half a dozen states including Kerala, Delhi and Puducherry had sent a letter to Jaitley on Tuesday asking for a deferment of the meeting.
The finance ministers of these Opposition-ruled states had expressed concerns about the discussion on lowering tax rate on residential housing at today’s meeting which was slated to be held through videoconferencing and had sought a detailed discussion by way of a regular meeting at a later date.
While Kerala’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had said that a lowering of the tax rate on lottery will benefit private middlemen and lottery mafia, Delhi’s Finance Minister Manish Sisodia had written in his letter that these agenda items are crucial in nature and require detailed discussion.
Sources said states expressed concern of potential leakages if sourcing norms from registered dealers get relaxed while lowering the tax rate for real estate.
A Group of Ministers (GoM) on issues related to lottery under GST regime met on Monday and favoured a uniform tax rate of either 18 per cent or 28 per cent from the current rate of 12 per cent for state-run lottery and 28 per cent for state-authorised lottery.
Separately, another GoM, under Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, set up last month favoured lowering the GST rate on under-construction residential properties to 5 per cent (without input tax credit) from the present effective rate of 12 per cent with input tax credit (after abatement of land) and for affordable housing to 3 per cent from the current rate of 8 per cent.
The effective pre-GST tax incidence on such housing property was 15-18 per cent. GST, however, is not levied on buyers of real estate properties for which completion certificate has been issued at the time of sale.
The GST Council in its meeting decided to extend the deadline for filing the summary GSTR-3B returns (for January) by two days due to high volumes of returns being filed on the last day, that is, today. For Jammu & Kashmir, the deadline has been extended to February 28.
Jaitley said the GST council recommended extending the deadline for GSTR 3B by two days. Many returns are being filed every hour, so we took a decision, he said adding that in J&K there has been some disturbance in some areas, so for them, it has been extended till February 28.