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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Chairs 48th Meeting of The GST Council

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Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman chairs 48th Meeting of the GST Council via virtual mode in New DelhiThe 48th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council Meeting was conducted virtually on December 17, 2022, in New Delhi, Delhi, and was presided over by Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Ministry of Finance (MoF).

  • The meeting was also attended by Union Minister of State (MoS) Pankaj Choudhary, MoF, as well as Finance Ministers of States & Union Territories (UTs) (with legislature) and senior officers of the MoF & States/ UTs.

Key Highlights of The 48th GST Council Meeting:

Rate Revisions

i.The council has clarified the applicability of a 22 % cess on Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) provided four requirements are fulfilled.

ii.The GST on pulse husks has been decreased from 5% to NIL.

iii.The GST on Ethyl alcohol supplied to refineries for blending with motor spirit (petrol) was decreased from 18% to 5%.

iv.Since the Group of Ministers (GoM) report on GST on online gaming and casinos was recently submitted, the issue was not discussed. The GoM is chaired by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma. Click here for official notification.

Measures for Facilitation of Trade

i.In accordance with Section 132 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act of 2017, the GST Council suggested decriminalizing a number of offences.

  • The GST law established strict penalties and guidelines that taxpayers must follow in order to ensure smooth intrastate or interstate trade of products, eliminate corruption, and maintain an effective tax collection system.
  • The GST Law provides for two different types of penalties, which may be both concurrent and simultaneous.
  • For violations of statutory provisions, the department authorities have the authority to levy monetary fines and seize goods.

ii.The CGST Act of 2017 has provisions pertaining to penalties in Sections 122 to 131 and to prosecution and compounding in Sections 132 to 138.

  • The length of the prison sentence is determined by the amount of tax evaded, the amount of Input Tax Credit (ITC) improperly claimed or utilised, or the amount of refund improperly claimed.

iii.The recommendations for facilitating trade include lowering the compounding amount for GST and raising the threshold for tax amounts subject to prosecution to Rs. 2 crore.

iv.Two major recommendations include refunding unregistered persons and facilitating e-commerce for micro enterprises.

  • There was no mechanism for claiming a refund of tax borne by unregistered buyers when a contract / agreement for the supply of services, such as the construction of a flat / house or a long-term insurance policy, was terminated and the time period for the issuing of a credit note by the concerned provider had elapsed.
  • The Council proposed amending the CGST Rules, 2017, to specify the procedure for filing an application for refund by unregistered buyers in such circumstances.

47th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council Meeting

i.The 47th meeting of the GST Council was conducted in June 2022, in Chandigarh, following which the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rationalised for several commodities, including LED lamps and solar water heaters, among others.

  • The rate changes recommended by the GST Council took effect on July 18, 2022.

ii.The GST Council gave in-principle approval for unregistered suppliers and composition taxpayers to use E-Commerce Operators (ECOs) to make intra-state goods during its 47th meeting, subject to certain conditions.

Recent Related News:

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) handles all Goods & Services Tax (GST) anti-profiteering complaints from December 1, 2022, as the extended tenure of the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) ended on November 30, 2022.

According to the GST Council’s resolution, the NAA will cease to function from December 1, 2022, and all investigations based on consumer complaints will be handled by the Directorate General of Anti-Profiteering (DGAP), which will then submit a report to CCI.

About Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council

i.On September 12, 2016, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, approved the establishment of the GST Council.

ii.The GST Council will be a joint forum of the Center and the States, in accordance with Article 279A of the amended Constitution. It will be made up of the following members:

  • Union Finance Minister – Chairperson
  • The Union Minister of State, in-charge of Revenue of finance – Member
  • The Minister In-charge of finance or taxation or any other Minister nominated by each State Government – Members