The 23rd GST Council Meeting today has cut rates on 177 items. The meeting being chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at Guwahati is said to be path breaking, as against the back breaking scenario in place till today as far as GST is concerned. The 12% GST on restaurants has been done away with! Almost 200 goods that were in the 28% slab have been moved to the 18% slab.
Restaurant GST, which was pegged earlier at 18%, then 12% is now to be levied at 5%, effective November 15. Meaning eating out just got cheaper. There will be no input tax credit though. However, restaurants in starred-hotels (tariff 7500+) will charge 28%, with input tax credit – was one of the significant decisions taken in today’s meeting. Outdoor catering will be at 18% with input tax credit.
Rahul Gandhi, the Congress VP was adamant in his stand today evening that the government, by implementing GST in such a manner has broken the back of small businesses, crushed the informal sector and adversely affected millions of jobs and households. Former Union Finance Minister, P Chidambaram said that thanks to the upcoming elections in critical states like Gujarat, the government has been forced to concede to demand for change and is taking such steps. The government think tank has heeded the advice of the opposition and experts on the flaws in the implementation of GST.
GST on luxury goods like washing machines and air conditioners has been retained at 28%. Cements and paints have been retained at 28%. Chewing gum, after shave, deodorant, chocolate, detergent, marble, will be 18% in the GST framework. The GST council, has rationally decided to keep only 50 items in the top 28% bracket – these will be mostly luxury, sin and demerit goods. FM Jaitley further said that 13 items were moved from 18% to 12%, 6 items from 18% to 5%, 8 items from 12@ to 5% and 6 items from 5% to nil.
As far as filing and returns are concerned, the GST Network clarified that in order to claim transition credit, businesses will be allowed to make changes to forms uploaded on the portal. March 2018 will be the deadline to file for return for 3B. 3B will be simplified for tax payer having no tax liability. Tax payers having a turnover of upto Rs 1.5 Crore will file returns as per following timeline:
Timelines for filing GSTR1 for other tax payers will be: