Key Highlights of 38th GST Council Meeting - 28% Tax on Lotteries- GSTR 9 & 9C Deadlines Extended.

38Th GST Council Meeting Highlights

GST council declared the latest amendments on Rates and Law & Procedure on December 18, 2019. The council was chaired by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman. The amendments made on the 38th sitting of the GST council are illustrated in this article.  

What are the latest changes made by GST council on Rates?

• A single rate of GST at the rate of 28% on both State-run and State-authorized lottery shall be levied and will be in effect from March 1, 2020
• Rate of Woven and Non-woven bags and sacks of Polyethylene or Polypropylene strips or the like, whether or not laminated for packing goods has been raised to a uniform rate of 18% from 12% that includes all bags falling under HSC 3923/6305 inclusive of Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBC). The decision was taken on the basis of the requests received after the changes recommended on such goods in the last meeting and the revised rate shall be effective from January 1, 2020.
• The council has decided to exempt the upfront amount payable for long term lease of industrial/financial infrastructure plots by an entity having 20% or more ownership of Central/State Government with effect from January 1, 2020. This amendment is as opposed to the current exemption given to those entities that have 50 % or more ownership of Central/State Government.

What are the latest changes made by GST council in Law & Procedure?

• The council has declared to initiate the formation of Grievance Redressal Committees (GRC) in the Zonal/State level that includes CGST and SGST officers, representatives of trade and industry and other GST stakeholders (GST practitioners and GSTN). The objective of GRC is to address and resolve the grievances of specific/general nature of taxpayers at the Zonal/State levels.
• Due date for the annual return in form GSTR-9 and reconciliation statement in form GSTR-9C for the FY 2017-18 has been extended to 31.01.2020
• In order to improve the filing of form GSTR-1, the following measures has been taken by the committee:
           o Late fee of all pending form GSTR-1 from July 2017 to November 2019 shall be waived off for all taxpayers if the same are filed by 10.01.2020
           o For all taxpayers who have not filed form GSTR-1 for two tax periods will have their E-way bill blocked 
• If the invoices or debit notes are not reflected in form GSTR-2A , then there will be a 10% restriction on the eligible Input Tax Credit (ITC) of the recipient and this will be in par with the actually reflected invoices or debit notes in GSTR-2A
• If a person is availing ITC through fake invoices, there will be suitable actions for preventing such faulty practices
• For taking actions against non-filing of form GSTR-3B returns, a Standard Operating Procedure for tax offices will be framed for taking suitable actions 
• In respect of few North Eastern States, due date of filing GST returns for the month of November 2019 will be extended 
• GST council has said that it has approved certain amendments in law that will be further deliberated in Budget 2020

After the meeting the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman was quoted saying, “Every attempt was made to keep that set tradition alive, every attempt was made to convince based on opinion making in the house.” She also added that the council was reminded that the tradition however, was not part of the rulebook and that the voting for amendments was held based on the request from one member.

The nation is looking forward to the furthering of the GST decisions that is expected to reflect in next year’s budget presentation that is anticipated to happen in few months. The response to changes introduced in the 38th GST council meet has received mixed response across nation.

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