The most important takeaways from the 43rd GST Council meeting
New Delhi: On Friday, May 28, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 43rd Good and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting by videoconference.
FM Nirmala Sitharaman told a press conference that the issue of Covid-19-related equipment was one of the subjects on the agenda that was thoroughly discussed.
The following are the main takeaways from the meeting:
1. The Council has resolved to exempt Covid-19 relief items from IGST until August 31, 2021.
2. Nirmala Sitharaman stated that ad hoc exclusions have been granted for Covid-19-related equipment.
3. A Group of Ministers will be constituted soon, and their report will be submitted within 10 days — on or before June 8 — so that if any further reductions are required, they will be made, in the sense that rates will be decided by them.
4. Due to an increase in black fungus infections, Amphotericin B has been added to the list of exemptions.
5. "I have assured the members that there will be a special session only on compensation cess matter beyond July 2022," FM Sitharaman stated.
6. To reduce late fee repayments, Sitharaman has proposed an Amnesty Scheme. According to her, small taxpayers might use this strategy to file delayed returns.
7. Sitharaman stated that an advance payment of Rs 4,500 crore was made to two vaccine manufacturers. “The country is engaging with suppliers/manufacturers including the Japanese, European Union for vaccines. In the coming months, supply will be more than what it is," she assured.
8. To compensate states for GST revenue losses, the Centre will borrow Rs 1.58 lakh crore.
9. ITR late fees have been reduced. "The rationalized late fee and the decision to reduce the maximum amount of late fee for small taxpayers will come into effect for future tax periods. This will provide a long-term relief to small taxpayers," Sitharaman stated.
10. The filing of annual returns has also been simplified. The Council has proposed changing the CGST Act to allow reconciliation statements to be self-certified rather than having them approved by Chartered Accountants.
11. For FY 2020-21, filing an annual return will remain optional for small tax-paying entities.
12. The GST Council did not adjust the tax rates for Covid-19 vaccinations and medical supplies. Vaccines are currently subject to a 5% GST.