GST Council recommendations will benefit people: Modi

Modi govt. has no option but to change GST rates: Chidambaram

"Expect a shower of changes in GST rates from GST Council meeting today", the senior Congress leader said. "It will be applicable from 15th of this month", the Finance Minister said while briefing media here after the two-day long meeting.

In a series of tweets after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the GST Council has made a decision to slash tax slabs for 178 items from 28 per cent to 18 per cent, Chidambaram said that the rate has been "capped" at 18 per cent.

The GST council meeting was attended by chief minister of Puducherry, deputy chief ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Delhi and finance ministers of rest of the states barring those from the poll-bound Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

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According to Divyesh Lapsiwala, Tax Partner, EY India: "Rate reduction for 200 plus goods and services may be suggestive of the fact that there is good buoyancy in tax collections, promoting a rate rationalisation". Currently, GST is levied at 12 per cent on non-AC restaurants, while it is 18 per cent for air-conditioned ones.

The rate of GST in case of eight items have been reduced to five per cent from existing 12 % and in case of six items it has been reduced to nil from existing six per cent. Value Added Tax (VAT) will continue to be charged for alcohol, which does not fall under GST.

To ease compliance burden for small businesses, the GST Council is also going to review the requirement of filing three returns every month under the GST set-up. "Besides, tax rate on 6 items have been lowered to zero from 5 per cent", Jaitley said, adding that detergent, marble floorings, toiletries among mass use items have been shifted to 18 per cent tax bracket from 28 per cent. "The facility to revise Form GST TRAN-1 declaration has been introduced on the GST Portal for taxpayers who had already filed it prior to November 9, 2017", GSTN said in a statement.

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