100 more stitches suggested in GST

The goods and services tax (GST) continues to be the work in progress. After several rounds of rate rejig and procedural overhaul, a government-appointed advisory group of industry veterans and experts has made about 100 more suggestions, including scrapping of the reverse charge mechanism and continuing GSTR-3B form for another year.

Among major proposals, the advisory panel has recommended deferring e-way bill till 2019 and doing away with HSN code in the invoice for easier return-filing. The 6-member pan­el, which comprised Ajay Sah­ai, director general & CEO of Federation of Indian Exp­orters Organisation, Praveen Khandelwal of the Confederation of All India Traders and Gautam Ray, ex-DG (au­dit), cu­stoms and central excise.

“The panel received mo­re than 700 representations on problems faced by the industry over return-filing, the e-way bill input tax credit and exports,” CAIT’s Khandelwal said.

Given the pressure on the government to further simplify the new indirect tax, there is a big possibility of some of the proposed changes finding favour among policymakers.

In a massive relief to industry and consumers, the GST council had last mo­n­th allowed more small taxpayers to be part of the co­mposition scheme thus reducing compliance burden while sl­a­shing tax rates for over 200 items, including chocolates, beauty products, sanitaryware, leather clothing and wigs. It also made eating out cheaper by cutting rates for all restaurants to 5 per cent.

The finance ministry wo­uld vet the advisory pa­n­­el’s suggestions before be­i­ng presented to the GST council. The next meeting of the GST council is sc­h­eduled in January. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who also chairs the GST council, has hinted at further pruning the list of it­ems in the peak 28 per cent tax bracket and sq­u­eezing the number of rates.

Meanwhile, the Engineering Export Promotion Council chairman TS Bha­sin has called for faster cle­arance of GST refunds.  Bhasin said the need of the ho­ur and key is faster cle­a­rance of the GST refunds.