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09 November 2017, 07:54 | Justin Tyler
Sushil Kumar Modi
Sushil Modi said like demonetisation, GST too aimed at "achieving a clean, transparent and honest economy" and claimed "the common people have no problems with the new tax regime per se". The GST Council is also working on making return filing smoother for traders and it is expected that in next Council meet the GoM may recommend filing of only the summary return form -GSTR3B. It had proposed a uniform tax rate of 12 per cent.
Noting with concern that GST returns had dropped in September to 46.4 per cent from 58 per cent in the preceding month in Bihar, Sushil Modi said "directions have been issued to conduct a survey and find out what are the problems that businessmen may be facing".
"Barring real goods of luxury or sin nature, we should bring (tax rate) down to 18 per cent (on all other products now in that category)", he said.
As many as 165 such items could be moved to the 18 per cent category, with only 62 attracting the highest rate, as reported earlier.
However, some on the GST Council believe that while change should be initiated to correct flaws, care should be taken not to dilute the tax reform.
In the original GST design, there was no place for tax exemptions-everyone pays tax and wherever legitimate tax incentives are needed, it is given as a refund.
"In tomorrow's meeting with the GST Council, the Congress will demand to completely abolish the 28 per cent tax slab".
"Instead of granting relief one by one to businesses, it may be desirable to focus only on the 10-15% assessees who contribute about 80% of revenue for compliance and liberalize the rules for everyone else", said a third official, who also declined to be named.
The Council will also deliberate to bring the real estate sector under GST for fixing standard rates in the entire country. It was previously 1%, 2% and 5%, respectively.
Construction material such as tiles, bricks, cement, sanitaryware and taps were put in the 28 per cent tax bracket, causing a lot of burden on individuals and home builders. "Industry is waiting for the Council's decisions eagerly'" said Abhishek A. Rastogi, a partner at law firm Khaitan and Co.
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