All eyes on GST rate cuts in next GST Council meet on January 10; details inside

New Delhi: The 32nd GST Council meeting is scheduled for January 10, 2019 after the recently concluded meeting on December 22, 2018. In the 31st GST Council meet, there was a rate rationalisation on about 23 goods and services. Notably, the 32nd GST Council meeting is going to happen within three weeks of the last meeting. The GST Council meeting chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to be the last or second-last GST council meet before the presentation of interim budget for the financial year 2019-2020.

According to a PTI report, Arun Jaitley will be presenting the interim budget on February 1, 2019. Amid the major goods and services which are likely to be taken up for a rate rationalisation include GST on under-construction flats, increasing the threshold limit for MSMEs from present Rs 20 lakh, GST rate on lottery, etc.

The current GST rate with respect to under-construction flats and houses and ready to move-in flats, where completion certificate is not issued at the time of sale, stands at 12 per cent. The GST Council may bring down the said rate to 5 per cent from 12 per cent, PTI reported citing an unidentified official. “One of the proposals before the council is to lower the GST rate to 5 per cent for builders who purchase 80 per cent of inputs from registered dealers,” the unnamed official was quoted in a PTI report.

In what it seems to be a New Year gift for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the GST Council may consider raising the threshold limit of exemption from GST. As of now, businesses up to an annual turnover of Rs 20 lakh are exempted from GST. “An in-principle unanimous decision was taken that a composition scheme be framed for small service providers. The threshold and composition charge would be decided in the next meeting,” Arun Jaitley had said on December 22.

“The next GST Council meeting within 3 weeks of the last meeting clearly shows the proactive approach of the government towards concerns of the industry and to resolve them at the earliest,” EY Tax Partner Abhishek Jain said. Recently last month, Arun Jaitley, on the occasion of 18 months of GST implementation, said: “The country should eventually have a GST which will have only slabs of zero, 5% and standard rate with luxury and sin goods as an exception”.

GST collection for December 2018 declined to Rs 94,726 crore as compared to Rs 97,637 crore collected in November 2018.