GST Council Meeting Highlights: Tax Exemption on Platform Tickets, 12 Per Cent Tax on Carton Boxes and More

In a landmark move, India's GST Council reduced rates for carton boxes, standardized milk can taxes, and proposed fuel inclusion.

On a recent Saturday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 53rd GST Council meeting, which convened state finance ministers to deliberate on crucial amendments and updates to India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) framework. The meeting resulted in significant decisions impacting various sectors and taxpayers across the country. Let’s delve into the major highlights and implications of this pivotal gathering.

Reduction in GST Rates

One of the standout announcements from the meeting was the reduction in GST rates on several categories of goods. Carton boxes, previously taxed at 18%, saw their GST rate reduced to 12%. This adjustment aims to alleviate tax burdens on packaging materials, benefiting industries reliant on carton boxes for distribution and packaging.

Uniform GST Rate for Milk Cans

In a move towards uniformity and simplification, the GST Council established a consistent 12% GST rate for all types of milk cans, regardless of their material composition—whether steel, iron, or aluminium. This streamlined approach aims to standardize taxation across similar commodities, reducing complexity for manufacturers and suppliers within the dairy sector.

Inclusion of Petrol and Diesel in GST System

While reiterating the intent to integrate petrol and diesel into the GST framework, the Council highlighted the need for consensus among states to determine applicable tax rates. This proposed inclusion seeks to streamline indirect taxation on fuels, potentially bringing relief through uniform pricing mechanisms nationwide, subject to state concurrence.

Exemption and Relief Measures

Addressing concerns and enhancing consumer benefits, the Council exempted platform tickets from GST, providing immediate relief to railway passengers. Additionally, services related to hostel accommodation outside educational institutions were exempted from GST up to Rs 20,000 per person each month, promoting affordability and accessibility in residential arrangements.

Biometric Aadhaar Authentication for GST

In a significant step towards combating fraud related to input tax credit claims, the government announced the nationwide rollout of biometric-based Aadhaar authentication. This measure aims to curb fraudulent practices linked to fake invoices, ensuring integrity and authenticity in GST transactions.

Monetary Limits for Filing Appeals

To streamline the appeals process, the GST Council proposed monetary thresholds for filing appeals in respective judicial bodies. Notably, a limit of Rs 20 lakh crore was set for the GST Appellate Tribunal, Rs 1 crore for High Courts, and Rs 2 crore for the Supreme Court. These thresholds aim to manage caseloads efficiently while providing clarity and accessibility in dispute resolution mechanisms.

Relief from Interest and Penalties

Recognizing challenges faced by taxpayers, the Council recommended waiving off interest and penalties for demand notices issued under Section 73 of the GST Act. This decision offers relief to businesses and individuals grappling with tax-related liabilities, fostering compliance and mitigating financial burdens.

Extension of Deadline for GSTR 4

In a bid to facilitate smoother compliance procedures, the Council extended the deadline for filing details and returns under the GSTR 4 form to June 30, beginning from the 2024-25 fiscal year onwards. This extension provides additional time for taxpayers, ensuring procedural adherence and minimizing compliance-related disruptions.

The outcomes of the 53rd GST Council meeting underscore India’s commitment to refining its GST regime through strategic amendments and progressive measures. From rate reductions and uniform taxation policies to enhanced compliance frameworks and relief initiatives, the decisions reflect a balanced approach towards bolstering economic resilience and fostering taxpayer confidence. As these reforms take effect, stakeholders across sectors can anticipate streamlined processes, reduced complexities, and improved regulatory clarity under the GST framework.

Aryan Jakhar
Aryan Jakhar
Aryan Jakhar, an Indian journalist, founded Business Headline and The Shining Media Group. Previously, he contributed to Indian media outlets including BusinessUpturn, Inc42, and the India Today Group.

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