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.