Tax Experts react to 38th GST Council meeting announcements

The 38th GST Council meeting held yesterday, saw deliberations on aspects like encouraging voluntary compliance, expanding tax base, measures to improve return filing, tax collection/rationalization, etc. While the the Committee of Officers set up to study revenue augmentation made a presentation, the Council refrained from any generalised rate increase or removal of exemptions, which is definitely a breather for industry considering the current economic conditions.

The Council announced the much awaited extension of due-date for filing of GSTR-9 for FY 17-18 and waived late fees in respect of pending GSTR-1, thus bringing cheer to the taxpayers before the year-end. The Council also decided on the formation of the Grievance Redressal Committee while issuing a Standard Operating Procedure for tax officers in respect of action to be taken in case of non-filing of GSTR-3B. As a measure to curb tax evasion, the Council announced blocking of E-way bill for non-filers of GSTR-1 and also approved ‘suitable action’ for blocking fraudulently claimed credits. Further, the amount of ITC availment on a provisional basis had been restricted to 10% from the earlier 20%, where invoices or debit notes are not reflected in GSTR-2A

For the first time, a departure was made from the usual practice of consensus-based decision-making, as the Council voted and settled the long pending issue of taxation on lottery. The Council also provided for exemption on upfront amount payable for long term lease of industrial/ financial infrastructure plots by an entity having 20% or more ownership of Central or State Govt.

The Who's Who of the Tax World reacts to the decisions taken by GST Council during its meeting on December 18.