GST Council led by Arun Jaitley clears CGST, IGST bills as 1 July roll-out seen on Track

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The government moved a step closer towards the likely roll-out of the crucial indirect tax reform, the Goods and Services tax (GST), starting 1 July, as the GST Council today approved the draft central GST and integrated GST laws.

The GST Council headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley approved the compensation, IGST (integrated GST) and CGST (central GST) at the eleventh council meet on Saturday.

For the legally vetted laws for State GST and Union Territory GST (UTGST) bills, which was also expected to get the clearance, will now be finalised by the legal committeee in the next three days, said Jaitley.

“The legal committee will finalise the SGST and UTGST bills in the next three days and circulate it to the state assemblies for approval,” Moneycontrol report said quoting Jaitley.

Following the GST Council’s approval, the Centre now seeks to present these bills in the second half of Budget session that begins next week in order to meet the stated goal of implementing the GST from 1 July.

West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra expressed satisfaction after Council cleared the IGST and CGST.

“We are very happy that the Centre has agreed to 26 recommendations of the states,”said West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra told reporters and added, “Parliament passing the CGST and IGST are the first parts. States will have to pass their law and then the process of fitment will take place.” NDTV report said.

In the last meet held in February, the council had cleared the draft compensation law which will requires the Centre to fully compensate states for any revenue loss for five years after migrating to the new tax system.

The central and state officials will soon start the exercise to determine which goods and services should fall in which tax bracket and the same will be taken to the Council for approval soon.

The GST Council has agreed to keep the upper band of the rate in the law at 20 percent from the existing 14 percent, which may lead to a peak GST levy move up to being as high as 40 percent (20 percent central and 20 percent state).

Another step remaining is to slot all the commodities under the GST tax slabs: 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent and 28 percent. Each item has to be fitted under a particular slab. After the 4-5 March meeting, GST officers will do the slotting.

Centre, states broadly agree on GST’s supporting legislations

The GST Council at a meeting today broadly agreed on the contours of two key legislations – CGST and IGST – but a final approval is likely only by mid-March.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met with his state counterparts today and discussed the GST legislation to be adopted by Union Territories, but there was no discussion with regard to the State GST Bill.

“As many as 26 changes sought by the states have been accepted by the Centre. This shows the federalist character of India. CGST and IGST will come up for further discussion at the next meeting of the Council in mid-March,” West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said.

Mitra further said both the Centre and states have agreed to provide a composition scheme to dhabas and small restaurants.

“States were seeking that dhabas and small restaurants can adopt the composite scheme. The Centre has agreed to that and now these small businesses will pay 5 per cent tax (to be shared equally between the Centre and states),” Mitra said.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the central GST and integrated GST legislations have been broadly agreed upon at the Council meeting today.

“Real estate should be brought under GST. Everybody knows that a lot of blackmoney finds its way into real estate and bringing real estate under GST will help in curbing black money,” Sisodia said.

Jammu & Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu felt that “some minor editorial changes” are required in the legislations and they have to be sent to the legal department again.

Mitra further said IGST, which relates to taxation of inter-state transfer of goods, the legislation will provide for cross empowerment of state and central officers.

“It has been agreed that there will be cross empowerment of states. Also, we did not want this as a notification, we wanted in the Act so that never in future can another council come and say states won’t have power,” Mitra stressed.

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