GST Council Agrees To Cut GST on Pencil Sharpeners From 18% To 12%; Tribunal GoM Report Needs Modification


Last Updated: February 18, 2023, 21:59 IST

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs the 49th meeting of the GST Council, at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, on Saturday. (Photo: Finance Ministry)

GST Council agrees to reduce the GST rate on pencil sharpeners from 18 per cent to 12 per cent; it has also decided to reduce GST rate on liquid jaggery from 18 per cent to nil or 5 per cent

The GST Council, which is headed by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and comprises representatives of all states and UTs, took several decisions in its 49th meeting on Saturday. The Council agreed to reduce the GST rate on pencil sharpeners from 18 per cent to 12 per cent. It has also decided to reduce GST rate on liquid jaggery from 18 per cent to nil or 5 per cent, and also cut tax rate on certain tracking devices.

It has also rationalised the late fees on annual returns. Late fee for annual return up to 5 crore has been fixed at Rs 25 per day, subject to an maximum amount of 0.02 per cent of his turnover. For taxpayers having turnover of Rs 5 crore to Rs 20 crore, the late fee would be Rs 50 per day.

During the meeting, the finance minister discussed setting up appellate tribunals and curbing tax evasion in pan masala and gutkha businesses. On the appellate tribunals, Sitharaman said the GoM report has been agreed to and slight modifications are required in the report.

Announcing the GST Council decisions, Sitharaman said, “We have announced today that the entire due on the pending balance of the GST compensation will be cleared as of today… In other words, the entire pending balance of the GST compensation – a total of Rs 16,982 crores for June – will be cleared.”

Abhishek Jain, tax partner at KPMG, said, “Major development has been the agreement with the GoM report on setting up of GST Tribunal at Centre and State level though changes in language and few other deliberations have been suggested, which would have to be circulated back to GOM l for their consent. This is a positive development and the industry players would hope that their long wait for GST Tribunal will soon be over.”

The GoM on GSTATs, appellate tribunals, was set up in July under the chairmanship of Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala. Once set up, the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) will ensure that businesses can approach the Tribunal instead of the high court for many matters.

To provide relief to a large number of taxpayers, the GST Council also recommended amnesty schemes in respect of pending returns in FORM GSTR-4, FORM GSTR-9 and FORM GSTR-10 by way of conditional waiver/ reduction of late fee.

Mahesh Jaising, partner at Deloitte India, said, “The drive of GST rate rationalisations continues, as the GST Council in its 49th meeting has announced a number of rate reductions on pencil sharpeners, tracking devices/ data loggers, raab etc  It has also been decided to allow GST exemption on services provided by the National Testing Agency (NTA).  It has been also decided to tax services by Tribunals/ Court under the reverse charge mechanism. Amnesty scheme for return filings and rationalisation of late fees for delayed filing of returns has also been announced.”

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