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News Indirect Tax-GST

  • Sep 22, 2020
  • CBIC extends due date of GST compliance of E-Way Bill in respect of goods sent/taken on approval for Sale/Return are removed before the Supply takes place

    The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) extended the due date of GST compliance and validity of the e-way bill till October 31, 2020 in respect of goods sent/taken on approval for sale/return are removed before the supply takes place. The Board seeks to amend notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), No. 35/2020-Central Tax, dated the 3rd April, 2020.

    The board seeks to amend clause (i) of the said notification to extend the due date of compliance which falls during the period from the 20th day of March, 2020 to the 29th day of June, to 30th day of June, 2020. In the said notification, in the first paragraph, in clause (i), after the first proviso, “provided further that where, any time limit for completion or compliance of any action, by any person, has been specified in, or prescribed or notified under sub-section (7) of section 31 of the said Act in respect of goods being sent or taken out of India on approval for sale or return, which falls during the period from the 20th day of March, 2020 to the 30th day of October, 2020, and where completion or compliance of such action has not been made within such time, then, the time limit for completion or compliance of such action, shall stand extended up to the 31st day of October, 2020,” shall be inserted.

  • Sep 22, 2020
  • Pre-filled GST return form soon: GST Network CEO

    GST-registered businesses will soon get pre-filled Return form, GSTR-3B, GST Network Chief Executive Officer Prakash Kumar said on Monday.

    “We are moving towards providing taxpayers with a pre-filled GSTR-3B form so that they can pay their taxes at ease. To start with, an option to edit the form would be provided to allow businesses to make past adjustments etc,” Kumar told PTI.

    GSTN, which handles the IT backbone for Goods and Services Tax (GST) has already started providing tax liability data based on sales return GSTR-1 of the taxpayer to be used in his tax payment form GSTR-3B in pdf form.

    It is also providing taxpayers auto-generated invoice-wise input tax credit (ITC) statements based on information furnished by the suppliers of the taxpayer.

    Kumar said this essentially means that the taxpayer can know how much ITC is available for the month.

    Currently, the liability and ITC are being provided as separate pdf documents.

    After two months, these two sets of data will automatically start flowing in GSTR-3B return, Kumar added.

    This is the first step towards connecting GSTR-1 which has business-to-business (B2B) invoice data along with data on exports, business-to-consumer (B2C) supplies etc and GSTR-3B, he said.

    The move is expected to ease taxpayer hassle of copy-pasting various numbers from sales return form GSTR-1 to GSTR-3B.

    “These functionalities have been done for monthly filers of GSTR-1 and functionality for quarterly filers will be introduced in due course,” Kumar said.

  • Sep 19, 2020
  • Delinking of Credit Note/Debit Note from invoice, while reporting them in Form GSTR 1/GSTR 6 or filing Refund

    Till now, original invoice number was mandatorily required to be quoted by the taxpayers, while reporting a Credit Note or Debit Note in Form GSTR-1 or Form GSTR-6.

    The taxpayers have now been provided with a facility on the GST Portal to:
    Report in their Form GSTR-1 or in Form GSTR-6, single credit note or debit note issued in respect of multiple invoices
    Choose the note supply type as Regular, SEZ, DE, Export etc., to identify the table to which such credit note or debit note pertains
    Indicate Place of Supply (POS) against each credit note or debit note, to identify the supply type i.e. Intra-State or Inter-State
    Debit /Credit Notes can be declared with tax amount, but without any taxable value also i.e. if credit note or debit note is issued for difference in tax rate only, then note value can be reported as ‘Zero’. Only tax amount will have to be entered in such cases.
    Similar changes have been made while reporting amendments to credit note or debit note

  • Sep 19, 2020
  • Using Matching Offline Tool to compare ITC auto drafted in Form GSTR-2B with Purchase Register

    An offline tool has been made available to the taxpayers to match Input Tax Credit (ITC), as auto populated in their Form GSTR-2B, with their purchase register. This tool will help the taxpayer to compare their ITC as per their Purchase Register, with the ITC as shown available in their auto drafted Form GSTR-2B and thus help them to claim correct ITC, while filing Form GSTR-3B.

    To use the Matching Offline Tool, taxpayer need to :
    download and install the Offline tool on their system
    download the Form GSTR-2B JSON file from the GST portal
    prepare purchase register in the template provided with offline tool
    Total number of documents to match should be preferably be less than 3000 in number.

  • Sep 18, 2020
  • Delhi GST (Amendment) Act, 2020: Delhi Govt. notifies Fraudulent availment of ITC without Invoice or bill Cognizable and Non-bailable

    The Delhi Government notified the Delhi Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Act, 2020, which seeks to amend the Delhi Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. In section 2 of the Delhi Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, in clause (114), for clauses (c) and (d), the clauses “Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu; Ladakh”, shall be substituted.

    The objective of this amendment was to amend clause (114) of section 2 of the Delhi Goods and Services Act so as to align the definition of “Union territory” in line with the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 and the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories), Act, 2019. In section 10 of the principal Act, in sub-section (2), in clauses (b), (c) and (d), after the words “of goods”, the words “or services” shall be inserted.

    This was done with the objective to amend clauses (b), (c) and (d) of sub-section (2) of section 10 of the Delhi Goods and Services Act to harmonise the conditions for eligibility for opting to pay tax under sub-section (1) and sub-section (2A). The government further amended subsection(4) of section 16 of the Delhi Goods and Services Act so as to delink the date of issuance of debit note from the date of issuance of the underlying invoice for purposes of availing input tax credit.

  • Sep 16, 2020
  • Key GST tasks and implications in September 2020

    The government has recently made some changes in the GST return filing system. The return forms proposed earlier called the RET forms with ANX (annexures) have been shelved. The existing GST returns in forms GSTR-1, GSTR- 2A and GSTR-3B are getting a complete makeover. GSTR-1 relates to returns filed by suppliers for all outward supplies. GSTR-2A relates to purchases of a business. While GSTR-3B is a return for payment of GST taxes. Let’s understand some key tasks that taxpayers must attend to during the month of September and also look at the new forms for taxpayers.

    A new statement called GSTR-2B, which is applicable for all normal taxpayers has been launched. The information in GSTR-2B is being auto-populated from GSTR-1. Further, GSTR-1 details will be auto populated into GSTR-3B, to pay GST dues. GSTR-2B and auto-linking of GSTR-1 with GSTR-3B are being implemented from July and August 2020 return period onward.There is a shift in the need to reconcile purchase registers from GSTR-2A to GSTR-2B from July 2020 return period onwards. In this statement, taxpayers can view the summary of eligible and ineligible ITC with a further invoice-wise break up of purchases as well as imports. For instance, ITC for August 2020 return period will be taken based on the documents reported by their respective suppliers between 12th August and 11th September 2020.

  • Sep 16, 2020
  • GST Network issues FAQs on invoicing scheme ahead of Oct 1 launch

    E-invoicing will not be applicable for business-to-consumer supplies or import bills of entries, while special economic zone units, banking companies, insurers, goods transport agencies and passenger transport companies will be exempt from issuing them.

    The GST Network issued clarifications through frequently asked questions on Monday, ahead of the October 1 launch of the scheme for businesses with more than Rs 500 crore turnover. The scheme will introduce a standard invoicing standard for all companies.

    "Businesses will continue to issue invoices as they are doing now. Necessary changes on account of e-invoicing requirement to enable reporting of invoices to Invoice Registration Portals (IRP) and obtain Invoice Reference Number (IRN), will be made by ERP or accounting and billing software providers in their respective software," the IT backbone provider of GST said.

    Businesses will need to get the updated version having this facility, GTSN clarified. A dedicated mobile app to scan and verify validity of e-invoice quick response (QR) code will be provided by the government.

    "These FAQs not only clarify the key doubts of the industry on the subject matter, but also throw light on the modus-operandi of e-invoicing system," said Abhishek Jain, tax partner at EY.

  • Sep 16, 2020
  • Starting this month, GST taxpayers to get more help in filing returns

    Starting this month, GST taxpayers will have the assistance of auto-generated documents detailing tax liability and availability of input tax credit (ITC) to make it easier for them to file their monthly summary returns (GSTR-3B), the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) said on Wednesday.

    Usually, the taxpayers face two main issues while filing their GSTR-3B which are related to their liability and ITC. Till now, taxpayers were required to compute these values but now the system has been upgraded to enable linking of summary returns and the outward supply return or GSTR-1.

    Taxpayers above `1.5 crore turnover are required to file GSTR-1 by the 11th of every month and GSTR-3B by 20th. This linking of these two returns has been done for these taxpayers but the functionality for others, who are allowed to file GSTR-1 quarterly, would be enabled later.

    The linking will provide taxpayers with available credit they can claim. In this enhancement, system will auto-generate the invoice-wise ITC statement based on information furnished by the suppliers of the taxpayer in GSTR-1. “A new form GSTR-2B has been launched for this purpose which is, unlike GSTR-2A, a static statement and will be made available for each month on the 12th day of the succeeding month,” GSTN said.
    It added that linking of returns is expected to give GSTN a big edge in curbing under-reporting of liability and over-reporting of ITC which has been a major concern for the government. Further, after taxpayers are accustomed to the additional information, the data automatically start flowing into GSTR-3B. In other words, GSTN will auto-populate the GSTR-3B return of the taxpayers.

  • Sep 14, 2020
  • ICAI seeks extension of FY19 GST annual return filing deadline by 3 months

    The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has written to the GST Council seeking deferment of 2018-19 GST annual return filing deadline by 3 months till December 31.

    The last date for filing annual return for 2018-19 fiscal for Goods and Services Tax (GST) registered taxpayer is September 30.

    In its representation to the GST Council, the ICAI said majority of the offices are working only partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    “We request… to provide appropriate relaxation to the registered persons and extend due dates of filing GST annual return and GST audit for the year 2018-19 by 3 months till December 31, 2020. This would provide needed relaxation to the trade, in combating the circumstances arising out of coronavirus,” the ICAI said.

    The government had in May extended the last date for filing annual GST return for financial year 2018-19 by three months till September 2020.
    EY Tax Partner Abhishek Jain said COVID-19 has not only dramatically affected the lives of people but has also brought various businesses to a standstill.
    “Under current scenario, where the industries are struggling, the focus has shifted to keep the operations running vis-a-vis meeting compliance deadlines. As such, this move of the ICAI, filing a representation seeking extension in the due dates for GST annual return and audit report by 3 months, will be much appreciated by the industry” and if accepted by the government, it would provide the requisite breathing space to businesses, Jain added.
    GSTR 9 is an annual return to be filed yearly by taxpayers registered under the Goods and Services Tax (GST). It consists of details regarding the outward and inward supplies made or received under different tax heads.
    GSTR-9C is a statement of reconciliation between GSTR-9 and the audited annual financial statement.

  • Sep 12, 2020
  • Update regarding enabling on e-invoice portal (https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in/)

    This is with reference to the requirement of certain taxpayers to prepare invoice in terms of Rule 48(4) of CGST Rules (e-invoicing).

    As a facilitation measure, all the taxpayers who were having aggregate turnover of Rs. 500 Cr. (from 2017-18 onwards) were enabled on e-invoice portal https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in/. The listing is based on GSTR-3B data, as available in GST System.

    One can search the status of enablement of a GSTIN on e-invoice portal: https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in/ > Search > e-invoice status of taxpayer

    In case any registered person, is required to prepare invoice in terms of Rule 48(4) but not enabled on the portal, they may request for enablement on portal: ‘Registration -> e-Invoice Enablement’.

    In case any registered person, who doesn’t have the requirement to prepare invoice in terms of Rule 48(4) but still enabled on the e-invoice portal, the same may be brought to the notice at support.einv.api@gov.in so that necessary action can be taken.

    For more information and help on e-invoicing, please visit: https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in/ > Help

    Thanking you,

    Team GSTN.

  • Sep 11, 2020
  • 18% GST is applicable on Plastic Mechanical Liquid Dispenser: AAR

    The Authority of Advance Ruling ( AAR ) ruled that 18% Goods and Service Tax (GST) is applicable to Plastic Mechanical Liquid Dispenser. The Applicant is engaged in importing “Plastic Mechanical Liquid Dispensers” from China and selling them in the local market since 2011. These dispensers are used as the caps of bottles. They are used for dispensing liquid either through direct discharge or spray type discharge or foam type of discharge. The applicant submitted that till June 30, 2017, they were importing this material under HS Code 3923 (Caps and closure). But after implementation of GST, they were asked to clear the goods under HSN 3926 (Other articles of Plastics) bearing GST of 28%. The applicant further submitted that they were not certain about the HSN of the said imported goods and other competitors were supplying the same product under HSN 8424 and 9616. So, it leads to confusion and, hence, they applied for Advance Ruling on the classification of the imported goods. Therefore, the applicant sought Advance Ruling on the issue of the HSN code and rate of tax for Plastic Mechanical Liquid Dispenser.

    The two-member bench of Sanjay Saxena and Mohit Agarwal ruled that that the imported Plastic Items stated as Plastic Mechanical Liquid Dispenser shall be classified, under Chapter sub-heading 3926.90- Others, as “articles, not elsewhere specified or included, of plastics as defined in Note 1 to the Chapter or other materials of heading 39.01 to 39.14”.

    Accordingly, the said product is liable to GST at the rate of 28% (14% CGST and 14% SGST) till November 14, 2017, and 18% GST (9% CGST and 9% SGST) with effect from November 15, 2017.

  • Sep 07, 2020
  • SEZ Unit can claim Refund of ITC of GST distributed by ISD Unit

    The Gujarat High Court allowed Britannia Industries to petition for a claim of refund of Input Tax Credit (ITC) distributed by Input Service Distributor (ISD) under Section 54 of the CGST Act. The Petitioner, having a unit situated in Special Economic Zone (SEZ), filed an application for refund in Form GST RFD-01A with regard to the credit of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) distributed by ISD for services related to the SEZ unit. The Petitioner was making zero rated supplies under the GST and was not able to utilize the credit of Input Tax Credit of IGST from its ISD, which was lying unutilized in the Petitioner’s electronic credit ledger. Thus, the Petitioner made an application to claim such a refund. The Deputy Commissioner, Central GST issued a Show Cause Notice with a proposal to reject the claim of refund on the grounds that the Petitioner, being situated in the SEZ unit, received a zero-rated supply of goods and services and there is no provision under Section 54 of the CGST Act.

    The notice also contended that there is no circular, notification or guidelines issued ever by the Board to process GST refund claim application of SEZ units. The Petitioner filed the written submissions in personal hearing, however an order was passed by the Respondent rejecting the refund. The issue raised in this case was whether the Petitioner, being an SEZ unit, can claim a refund of unutilized IGST credit lying in Electronic Credit Ledger under section 54 of the CGST Act, 2017.

  • Sep 07, 2020
  • GST laws review: Focus on decriminalising offences and wider use of compounding provisions

    The pace of a comprehensive review of GST laws has accelerated with a special focus on decriminalising offences and wider use of compounding provisions with the objective of improving business sentiment and reducing litigation.

    The government is evaluating removal of clauses in the law that provide officers powers to arrest taxpayers suspected of evasion.

    It is also considering revoking powers to arrest in case of claiming undue input tax credit or for want of actual invoicing, leaving out bank accounts from the ambit of attaching properties and limiting the scope of criminal offence to only high values of fraud.

    These have been some of the key suggestions by industry bodies in a series of meetings held with the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) last week.

    The move follows the government’s broader drive to decriminalise minor offences across several laws including the Companies Act, where technical and procedural defaults such as shortcomings in corporate social responsibility reporting, inadequacies in board report, filing defaults, delay in holding annual general meetings among others have been decriminalised.

    "There has been a debate about building into statutes, criminal liability for acts that are civil in nature. Hence, for Companies Act, certain amendments are proposed to be made that will correct this. Similarly, other laws would also be examined, where such provisions exist and attempts would be made to correct them," Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said in her Budget speech in February.

  • Sep 05, 2020
  • System computed values of GSTR-1 Statement (Monthly filers), made available in Form GSTR-3B, as PDF statement on GST Portal

    A pdf statement has been made available to taxpayers, filing monthly GSTR-1 statement, with system computed values of Table 3 of Form GSTR-3B. This PDF will be prepared on the basis of the values reported by them, in their GSTR-1 statement, for the said tax period.

    Note: This facility will also be provided to quarterly GSTR-1 filers in due course of time.

    This PDF will be available on their GSTR-3B dashboard, from tax period of August 2020 onwards, containing the information of GSTR-1 filed by them on or after 4th September 2020. This will make filing of their Form GSTR-3B easier for them.

    This facility is provided to all taxpayers registered as a Normal taxpayer, SEZ Developer, SEZ unit and casual taxpayer.

    Tables of Form GSTR 3B will be Auto-Drafted in pdf statement: Following Tables of Form GSTR-3B will be auto drafted, on basis of values reported in GSTR-1 statement, for the said period:
    3.1(a) - Outward taxable supplies (other than zero rated, nil rated and exempted)
    3.1(b) - Outward taxable supplies (zero rated)
    3.1(c) - Other outward supplies (Nil rated, exempted)
    3.1(e) - Non-GST outward supplies
    3.2 - Supplies made to un-registered persons
    3.2 - Supplies made to composition taxable persons
    3.2 – Supplies made to UIN holders

    In this, following points may be noted:
    In case, any of the above values is negative as per GSTR-1 statement, those figures would be mentioned as Zero in the auto-drafted PDF and will not be carried forward to next period.
    Turnover & tax are computed after taking into account credit notes, debit notes, amendments and advances, if any.
    Only filed GSTR-1 statements are considered for auto-population of the values in Form GSTR-3B.

    This PDF is only for assistance of taxpayers to get the auto drafted values of Table 3 of their Form GSTR 3B (as per their filed GSTR 1 statement). Taxpayers, however, are required to verify & file their Form GSTR-3B, with correct values.

  • Sep 04, 2020
  • GST deadlines coming up: Why September 2020 is important to monitor for GST compliance

    In this article, we have analysed the various provisions under the GST law including notifications, circulars, etc, so as to bring before you a list of key action points for September 2020 that are of prime importance.

    Time limit of claiming of ITC and conditions thereon

    ITC on invoices pertaining to 2019-20 or debit notes relating to invoices pertaining to 2019-20 can be availed any time till the due date of filing of the return for the month of September 2020 or the date of filing of the relevant annual return, whichever is earlier. Thereby, we advise you to look into your GSTR 2 and GSTR 2A reconciliation and plan to take available tax credit before filing the return for September 2020. Strong vigilance is needed for ITC pertaining to 2019-20 as the last date to avail the ITC is the due date of Sep GSTR-3B i.e. 20th Oct. Rigorous follow up is needed with the vendors who have not shown or there is a mismatch in the ITC in their GSTR-1. Further, no debit notes and invoices pertaining to FY 2019-20 shall be accepted post-Sep 2020.

    Cumulative adjustment of ITC up to 110% of the eligible credit for Feb 2020 to Aug 2020

    The restriction attached to the ITC up to 110% of the eligible credit available in respect of invoices or debit notes the details of which have been uploaded by the suppliers in GSTR-1 has to been seen cumulatively for the period February 2020 to August 2020 and the adjustments therein have to be made in Sep 2020 GSTR-3B.

  • Sep 02, 2020
  • GST compensation cess mop-up rises for first time in five months

    Goods and services tax (GST) collections slumped to a three-month low in August, and came in 12 per cent lower year-on-year (YoY), indicating slower recovery in economic activity. However, compensation cess collections rose for the first time in five months, and 6 per cent YoY, amid the tussle between the Centre and states.

    The overall mop-up remained well below the Rs 1-trillion mark for the sixth straight month owing to the pandemic, even as unlocking began in June. GST collections stood at Rs 86,449 crore in August, compared to Rs 87,422 crore in July, according to finance ministry data. It was at 88 per cent of August 2019 collections.

    A large portion of the fall could be attributed to imports, which were down 23 per cent YoY, while domestic transactions were down just 8 per cent YoY. “During the month, revenues from imports were at 77 per cent and revenues from domestic transactions (including import of services) at 92 per cent of revenues from these sources during the same month last year,” the ministry of finance said in an official release.

    However, in July, revenues from domestic transactions had touched 96 per cent of last year’s levels, with imports at 84 per cent of the same.

    “It may be noted that taxpayers with turnover below Rs 5 crore continue to enjoy relaxation in filing of returns till September,” the ministry explained in the release.

    In order to improve collections, the government is planning more anti-evasion measures, including e-invoicing for large firms with turnover of Rs 500 crore, from October 1. Compensation cess came in at Rs 7,215 crore in August — 5.7 per cent higher than the Rs 6,822 crore in August 2019. The GST Council is expected to meet in a week to discuss the two options on an alternative compensation mechanism proposed by the Centre.

  • Sep 02, 2020
  • GST collections dwindle again in August; significant fall in revenue from imports

    GST collections on the month of August 2020 stood at Rs 86,449 crore, which is still much below the target. The revenues for the month are 88 per cent of the GST revenues in the same month last year, said the Ministry of Finance. During August, the revenues from the import of goods were 77 per cent and the revenues from the domestic transactions were 92 per cent of the revenues, compared on-year. The GST revenues in August have seen the second consecutive fall after the fall in July. It is also to be noted that the taxpayers with turnover less than Rs 5 crore continue to enjoy relaxation in the filing of returns till September.

    Out of the total GST collections, CGST is Rs 15,906 crore, SGST is Rs 21,064 crore, IGST is Rs 42,264 crore, and cess is Rs 7,215 crore. Also, the government has settled Rs 18,216 crore to CGST and Rs 14,650 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement. The total revenue earned by the central government and the state governments after the regular settlement in the month of August 2020 is Rs 34,122 crore for CGST and Rs 35,714 crore for the SGST.

    “The collections in August 2020, though at 88 per cent of collections in August 2019 are still pretty decent, especially when you compare the dip in collections from July to August in 2019,” said Rajat Bose, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. The numbers seem to be stabilizing and are expected to be in this range at an average for the next six months at least, he added.

  • Sep 01, 2020
  • GST filing date extended! Govt extends FY20 return filing deadline for composition dealers till October 31

    The government on Monday extended by 2 months the due date for filing of annual GST returns for 2019-20 by composition dealers to October 31. This is the second extension in as many months given by the government. The original deadline for filing the return was July 15, which was earlier extended till August 31.

    The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in a tweet said, “Last date GSTR 4 for FY 2019-20 extended to 31st October 2020”. Goods and Services Tax (GST) composition scheme can be opted by any taxpayer whose turnover is up to Rs 1.5 crore.

    Under the scheme, manufacturers and traders are required to pay GST at the rate of 1 per cent, while restaurants (which do not serve alcohol) have to pay GST at 5 per cent rate.

  • Aug 27, 2020
  • Delayed GST payment: Interest to apply prospectively, says CBIC

    The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) clarified on Wednesday that while its notification on charging interest on delayed payment of GST on net liability is prospective in nature, the central and state tax administration would not implement it retrospectively.

    The GST law stated that an 18% interest is to be charged on delayed gross GST payment, which meant that the GST liability considered for interest calculation included the part which could be offset by input tax credit. However, this was changed by the GST Council in its 39th meeting so that interest was to be levied on net liability or the amount to be paid in cash.

    The CBIC in a statement said that due to technical reasons, the notification to give effect to the GST Council decision has been issued prospectively from September 1. “CBIC has assured that no recoveries shall be made for the past period as well by the central and state tax administration in accordance with the decision taken in the 39th Meeting of the GST Council,” it said.

    Earlier this year, the CBIC had urged its zonal heads to recover a whopping Rs 46,000 crore from taxpayers on account of penal interests arising from delayed payment of tax with GSTR-3B returns. The last date for filing GSTR-3B for any month is 20th of the subsequent month; an annual interest of 18% is payable on the gross tax amount for any delay. However, this amount was calculated on gross liability and will become infructuous due to the notification.

  • Aug 26, 2020
  • FM hints at GST cut on two-wheelers

    Even as the government is battling a much-reduced tax buoyancy and a yawning revenue deficit, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday kept alive industry’s hopes for further tax cuts. Responding to an observation made by attendees at a CII event, on the need for lowering the rate on two-wheelers, the minister said it was “indeed a good suggestion, as this category is neither a luxury nor a sin good and hence merits a rate revision”.

    The remark came ahead of the 41st session of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council, slated for Thursday. There has been a demand from the automobile industry, including largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp for reduction of the GST rate on bikes and scooters to 18% from the top slab of 28% meant for luxury goods, in order to spur demand.

    Two-wheeler sales somewhat recovered in July following the easing of lockdown curbs, signalling improving rural demand on the back of a good rabi harvest. Sales stood at 12,94,49 units, up 32% from the June volumes but is still down by 12% from a year before.

    However, the current juncture appears to be not conducive for further rate cuts, as GST revenues are way below the targets.