GST anti-profiteering rules: Govt issues form to lodge complaints against firms

New Delhi: Consumers looking to file complaints against businesses for not passing on benefits of lower taxes in the goods and services tax (GST) regime will have to furnish details of the price of the product and the applicable tax rates both in the pre and post GST era.

As per the anti-profiteering form released by the government on Wednesday, the complainant will have to file the application form before the standing committee on anti-profiteering for pan-India complaints or before the state screening committees if the profiteering is of a local nature.

Businesses not passing on the benefit of reduced tax burden in the GST regime has been a major challenge for policymakers, which forced the federal indirect tax body, the GST Council, to withdraw the benefit of input tax credits for most restaurants and slash rates to 5% from 12% and 18% earlier applicable for non-AC and AC restaurants.

The complainant may find it difficult to specify the tax levy on products before the introduction of GST as taxes like excise are not visible upfront at the time of purchase.

“The complainant will have to fill all the details before the application is taken up by the committee. We have already been getting complaints that the reduction in the GST rates announced last month are not being passed on to the consumers,” said an official at the anti-profiteering authority.

The complainant will have to file separate forms for each good and service wherein there is a suspicion of profiteering.

Also, the complainant will have to back the complaint with documentary evidence like invoice, price list and detailed working sheet.

Last week, the government set up the anti-profiteering authority and announced B.N. Sharma, a senior revenue department official as its first chairman. The government constituted the authority to ensure that the benefits of the lower taxes in the new indirect tax regime are passed on to the consumers.

“The government has released the Anti-Profiteering Application Form (APAF – 1) using which a complaint can be filed by a consumer of goods or services before the anti-profiteering committee. Application form requires detailed information such as sale price (pre-GST and post GST), taxes (pre GST and post GST), benefits of input credits, etc. It also appears that separate application may need to be filed for each good and / or services in reference to which anti-profiteering is alleged,” said Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY India, in a note.

Source: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/38p4wnf2ABAj2KvTjKlrEN/GST-antiprofiteering-rules-Govt-issues-form-to-lodge-compl.html

May Merge 12% and 18% GST Rates to Have Just Three Tax Slabs, Hints Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday indicated that the number of slabs of Goods and Services Tax (GST) could be pruned to just three.

The finance minister further added that the GST Council could consider merging the current slabs of 12% and 18% into one rate apart from reducing the number of items that are taxed at 28%.

“We started the rationalization (of GST rates) ahead of schedule. Future rationalization will depend on how the revenue moves. We have thinned down the 28% slab. Moving ahead, we will rationalize it further to probably keep only luxury items in the highest bracket,” Jaitley said.

The new tax regime has been a mainstay of the current government in its economic policies and Jaitley believes that there can never be one single GST rate in the country considering the social setup of the nation.

“We need to consider if we have the scope of merging the 12% and 18% slabs and have an interim rate. We have the lowest rate at 5%, then this new merged rate and the very thin slab of 28%. Eventually, that will be the direction,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley further went on to add that banks with their left-over cash post-demonetisation will fund the medium and small-scale enterprises.

“Banks will fund SMEs and the informal sector from the leftover cash it received during demonetisation,” said the finance minister, while speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

The Union minister also said that the government is looking to focus on the informal as well as small-scale enterprises in the future.

The move gains significance as not only the business sectors, but also RSS —ideological mentor of the ruling BJP — has expressed concern over the newly implemented Goods and Services Tax harming enterprises in terms of revenue.

During his speech, Jaitley also identified that “the bulk of job creation in India comes from the informal sector”.

Keeping in mind this concern, the GST Council, in its 23rd meeting held in Guwahati, brought down the tax rates on a number of items.

At present, GST has five tax slabs — 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. Besides these, a cess is also levied on some sin and luxury goods over and above the tax rate of 28%.

Among other developments, the minister also said that Indians need to be nudged to comply to economic norms and that the 5% income tax rate is a ploy to get people to start paying taxes.

Source  :http://www.news18.com/news/india/may-merge-12-and-18-gst-rates-to-have-just-three-tax-slabs-hints-arun-jaitley-1591349.html

Big bang changes in GST laws on anvil to ease rules and procedures

After reducing rates on about 300 items since the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1, the government may now propose significant changes in the laws and rules, to simplify procedures and ease rules for the business.

The changes could include simplifying the tax return filing process and the composition scheme, apart from the decision on whether to continue with reverse charge mechanism (RCM), tax deducted at source (TDS) and tax collected at source (TCS), two government officials in know of the matter told Moneycontrol.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council–the apex body for decision making headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley—is likely to consider the big bang recommendations of the law advisory group in its next meeting on the first week of January in New Delhi.

The law advisory committee will submit its report on January 1, with key recommendations pertaining to amendments in laws and rules to make the new tax system simple, one of the officials said.

However, certain changes could also require amendments in some of the five GST laws–Central GST (CGST), State GST (SGST), Integrated (IGST), Union Territory GST (UTGST) and GST (Compensation to states). The amendments will be done after the announcement of the Union Budget in February.

“The law review group will see what provisions need to be changed. Traders concerns will definitely be addressed. For example, how do we deal with TDS and TCS under GST? Do we need the concept of invoice-matching?,” the official said.

Since its implementation from July 1, the new indirect tax system has faced criticism owing to the teething troubles including lack of clarity on return filing, errors in invoice matching, and major technical snags on the information technology portal GST Network (GSTN), among others.

The government has also, time and again, extended return filing dates. In a bid to ease compliance and simplifying procedures, earlier this month, the Council allowed tax assessees to file only two sets of forms—GSTR1 (for outward supplies or goods that they sell) and GSTR 3B (summary form) — instead of four earlier.

While small taxpayers with an annual turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore will file quarterly returns (once in three months), those with a higher turnover will file monthly returns.

The return filing process may be changed completely as the concept of invoice matching may not exist. “There are various possibilities such as bringing in fresh return forms and formats,” another official said.

Similarly, whether concepts such as RCM, TDS and TCS should be there under GST or not will be decided the advisory group. The Council has currently deferred the implementation of all these concepts to March 31, 2018.

Source : http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/economy/big-bang-changes-in-gst-laws-on-anvil-to-ease-rules-and-procedures-2444425.html

GST brings pain, paperwork to India’s online sellers

India’s new goods and services tax (GST) regime is causing widespread headaches for small merchants and the e-commerce companies they work with.

The GST, which went into effect 1 July, has been touted as the biggest tax reform since the country’s independence seven decades ago, aimed at replacing hundreds of regional and federal levies with a standardized national tax. But retailers are discovering the new system is anything but simple. They’re battling a dizzying array of documentation requirements and product classifications, which affect the percentage of tax charged, that threaten to choke businesses with bureaucracy. Thousands of small merchants have been dropped from e-commerce sites because they can’t meet the new requirements.

Seller Archit Agarwal is still struggling to get the new rules straight after months of preparation. The owner of A2A Trading sells imported wireless headphones on Amazon.com Inc.’s local site, but he’s scrambling to figure out how his existing warehouse stock should be taxed, how customer returns should be handled and how detailed record-keeping should be. In August, he’ll start filing three sets of monthly tax returns.

“The new system is overwhelming,” said the 32-year-old just days after the GST was put in place. The harried Agarwal was heading into a low-rise building in Bangalore to one of Amazon’s 16 pop-up GST Cafés. A sign outside advertises “Get GST compliant and sell online chinta-free,” and dozens of sellers have come to offload their ‘chinta,’ or worries , before the online giant’s panel of taxation experts.

The rate of GST varies depends on the product and service, ranging from zero to 28%, as well as numerous exemptions. For example, fresh milk doesn’t incur GST, cream attracts a 5% rate while butter and cheese are charged at 12%.

While merchants didn’t always comply with their tax obligations under the old regime, the consequences of not filing proper returns now are dire. Penalties range from fines of Rs10,000 ($155) to five years in jail. Those with large amounts of tax due will not be eligible for bail.

In the past weeks, e-commerce companies big and small have bounced thousands of non-compliant sellers off their websites. Some small businesses and restaurants have voluntarily dropped out because they can’t meet the new requirements.

Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd, the country’s largest online retailer, said “close to 95%” of its 100,000 merchants are compliant, but the rest were removed before the GST kicked in. Rival Amazon said it would retain nearly all of its 200,000 merchants.

“Small e-commerce businesses are getting knocked out by GST,” said Ravjeet Singh of the Delhi-based MS Trading Co., which sells men’s t-shirts on both sites. “The changeover is complicated and the penalties for not paying timely taxes are so harsh that people are scared.”

Mumbai-based fashion e-commerce start-up Fynd said its sellers complained that the GST website had stopped taking registrations and was down, a sign of upcoming trouble. The site has dropped almost 10% of its 330 sellers.

“Merchants are seeking clarity on a number of vexing questions,” said Harsh Shah, the company’s co-founder. “They are also are not quite sure what happens in various scenarios like discounts or in bundled offers.”

Nevertheless, the e-commerce industry largely views the overhaul as paving the way for long-term growth. Businesses are no longer required to go to multiple agencies in different regions or pass through entry points in each region, where miles-long truck lines were common.

Companies like Flipkart and Amazon, which source products and locate warehouses at multiple locations for tax purposes, will be able to reduce costs as transportation expenses fall and deliveries arrive faster. “Online retail will be a lot more streamlined,” said Vivek Somareddy, an Amazon executive who has worked with merchants to prepare for the new tax.

The pain will last through the next few quarters, said Sampad Swain, co-founder and chief executive officer of Instamojo, an e-commerce platform that helps small businesses sell online. Only about half the 250,000 businesses that sell mangoes, umbrellas and cupcakes on his site are registered with the new tax website. But Swain expects the number of businesses on his platform to swell to one million in the next 18 months.

“Small businesses will find the going a lot easier under the new tax regime and this will become clearer as months go by,” he said. Bloomberg

Source : http://www.livemint.com/Industry/qaWbySrq4RgjtIpiw1sOvK/GST-brings-pain-paperwork-to-Indias-online-sellers.html

All traders register under GST by Aug 15: PM Narendra Modi to Chief Secretaries

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked all chief secretaries to work expeditiously towards ensuring that all traders register under the GST regime before August 15, a PMO statement said.

He conveyed this while chairing a meeting of Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation (PRAGATI), a multi-modal platform through which he interacts with top officials of state governments via tele-conferencing.

GST was rolled out on July 1, ushering a new system of indirect taxes in the country.

During the meeting, the prime minister also reviewed the progress towards handling and resolution of grievances related to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and the Directorate of Estates and asked the Urban Development ministry to proactively monitor the same, with sensitivity, the statement said.

He asked the CPWD to encourage all vendors to come aboard the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) platform, the PMO said.

Modi also reviewed the progress of vital and long-pending infrastructure projects in the railway, road and petroleum sectors, spread over several states including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh.

The projects reviewed today include the Chennai Beach- Korukkupet third line and the Chennai Beach-Attippattu fourth line; the Howrah-Amta-Champadanga new Broad Gauge line.

Four-laning of Varanasi bypass; four-laning of Muzaffarnagar-Haridwar section of NH-58 were also reviewed.

“Noting that several of the projects reviewed today have been pending for decades, and in one case, over four decades, the prime minister urged all chief secretaries to take all possible steps to avoid delays, and resulting cost escalations,” the statement said.

He emphasized on speedy implementation of such infrastructure projects, it added.

The prime minister also reviewed the progress of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) and urged the concerned departments to accelerate the adoption of new construction technologies at the earliest, the statement said.

Source : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/ensure-all-traders-register-under-gst-by-aug-15-pm-narendra-modi-to-chief-secretaries/articleshow/59563606.cms

 

items of gst with rates    GST 0% Rate Category Items List  

items of gst with rates    GST 5% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 12% Rate Category Items List

items of gst with rates    GST 18% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 28% Rate Category Items List 

 

GST to apply on rental income beyond Rs 20 lakh

Rental income from residential property has been exempt from the goods and services tax (GST) but any earning over Rs20 lakh annually from renting or leasing for commercial purposes would attract the levy.

Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that if the house property is rent out for shop or office purpose, no GST will be levied up to Rs20 lakh. “Rental income received from residential house is exempt. But if you have given your unit to commercial enterprise, then it is taxable if you are getting more than Rs20 lakh as rent,” Adhia said at the GST Master Class.

The taxpayer earning more than the exempted threshold will have to register with the GST Network and pay taxes. GSTN chief executive Prakash Kumar said that as many as 69.32 lakh registered excise, service tax and VAT payers have migrated to the GSTN portal.

There are over 80 lakh such assessees in the earlier indirect taxation regime. Out of the 69.32 lakh, as many as 38.51 lakh have completed the entire registration process and registration certificate is being issued to them.

The remaining 30.8 lakh taxpayers are being sent SMS and emails by GSTN so that they complete the registration process by giving the details of the business like main place of business, additional place of business, promoters details.

Besides, over 4.5 lakh new assessees have registered on the GSTN portal since 25 June. Adhia further said that the facility to amend the details of businesses provided to the GSTN portal at the time of registration will open on 17 July. Also, registration for GST practioners will open on the same day. Besides, cancellation of registration can be done online.

Source : http://www.livemint.com/Politics/8tPuWZketLwQumCfDzRw9O/GST-to-apply-on-rental-income-beyond-Rs-20-lakh.html

items of gst with rates    GST 0% Rate Category Items List  

items of gst with rates    GST 5% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 12% Rate Category Items List

items of gst with rates    GST 18% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 28% Rate Category Items List 

 

 

GST rate on sanitary napkins fixed at 12%

Sanitary napkins will attract a GST rate of 12%, a shade lower than 13.7% in the previous indirect tax regime.

Clarifying on reports of tax incidence on sanitary napkins under GST, a finance ministry statement said, “The tax incidence on this item before and after GST is the same or less.” In pre-GST, they attracted concessional excise duty of 6% and 5% value added tax (VAT). The total tax incidence on sanitary napkins was 13.68% after considering cesses. Therefore, 12% GST rate had been provided for sanitary napkin,” it said.

Raw material used for manufacture of sanitary napkins attract GST of 12% and 18%. This means that the manufacturers pay more GST than they collect from customers. So the difference qualifies for a refund.

“Though, within the existing GST law such accumulated input tax credit will be refunded, it will have associated financial costs (interest burden) and administrative cost, putting them at a disadvantage vis-a-vis imports, which will also attract 12% integrated GST on their imports, with no additional financial costs on account of fund blockage and associated administrative cost of refunds,” the statement said.

If the GST rate on sanitary napkins was reduced to 5%, it will further accentuate the tax inversion and result in even higher accumulated input tax credit (ITC), with correspondingly higher financial costs on account of fund blockage and associated administrative cost of refunds, putting domestic manufacturers at even greater disadvantage vis-a-vis imports.

“Reducing the GST rate on sanitary napkins to nil, will however, result in complete denial of ITC to domestic manufacturers of sanitary napkins and zero rating imports. This will make domestically manufactured sanitary napkins at a huge disadvantage vis-a-vis imports, which will be zero rated,” it added.

Source: http://www.livemint.com/Industry/2Y4RRe0XaJmVduujmsDdXL/GST-rate-on-sanitary-napkins-fixed-at-12.html

items of gst with rates    GST 0% Rate Category Items List  

items of gst with rates    GST 5% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 12% Rate Category Items List

items of gst with rates    GST 18% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 28% Rate Category Items List 

 

Gifts above Rs 50,000 per year by an employer subject to GST: Government

The government has said gifts of value of up to Rs 50,000 given by an employer to its employee are outside the ambit of GST. Perquisites such as membership of a club or health and fitness centre provided free of charge to all employees by an employer will not be subject to GST if they are part of the employment contract and appropriate GST was paid when these services were procured by the employer, finance ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Free housing to employees, when the same is provided in terms of the contract between the employer and the employee and is part and parcel of the costto-company, will also not attract GST.

“It is being reported that gifts and perquisites supplied by companies to their employees will be taxed under GST. Gifts upto a value of Rs 50,000/- per year by an employer to his employee are outside the ambit of GST,” the statement said.

Only gifts of value more than Rs 50,000 made without consideration are subject to GST when made in the course or furtherance of business.

“This clarification brings clarity that any supply from employer to employee which is part of the CTC (cost-to-company) will not be considered a supply,” Bipin Sapra, tax partner at EY, said.

The finance ministry also clarified what constituted a gift. “Gift has not been defined in the GST law. In common parlance, gift is made without consideration, is voluntary in nature and is made occasionally,” it said. “It cannot be demanded as a matter of right by the employee and the employee cannot move a court of law for obtaining a gift.”

Finance ministry has also offered an elaborate explanation for taxation of perquisites. The services by an employee to the employer in the course of or in relation to his employment is outside the scope of GST, the ministry said.

DUTY ON SANITARY NAPKINS
The finance ministry has said before GST, sanitary napkins attracted a total tax of 13.68 per cent, therefore were put in the 12 per cent slab. Reducing GST on sanitary napkins to zero would mean manufacturers will also not be able to claim input tax credit and land them at a disadvantage vis-à-vis imports.

Source : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/gifts-above-rs-50000-per-year-by-an-employer-subject-to-gst-government/articleshow/59529934.cms

items of gst with rates    GST 0% Rate Category Items List  

items of gst with rates    GST 5% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 12% Rate Category Items List

items of gst with rates    GST 18% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 28% Rate Category Items List 

 

Grain traders shut shop, protest against imposition of GST

Traders of grains and staple foods across major Indian markets went on a strike on Thursday, protesting the imposition of goods and services tax (GST) on branded rice and lentils. Traders of sugar, of which the country is the world’s biggest consumer, also shut their shops after New Delhi had said the sweetener would attract a 5% levy.

Trade associations from Maharashtra, the Delhi Grain Merchants Association, and the Bombay Sugar Merchants Association led the strike against what they claimed as the first instance of taxation of staple foods since Independence. The GST, which replaces multiple producer levies with just one tax, is scheduled to be implemented July 1.

Grain traders from Delhi’s Naya Bazar market, which sees a daily turnover of about Rs 50 crore, shut shop on Thursday. “For the first time since Independence, a government has taxed daal and roti,” said Rattan Lal Navetia, general secretary of the Delhi Grain Merchants Association. “The government has not only imposed tax, but it has also made it complicated for the traders. From filing four income tax returns in a year, we will now have to file 37.”

Traders claim that brands, howsoever small, dominate the wholesale trade now, as increased awareness has tilted the scale in favour of packaged goods. According to them, just cleaned and packed grains that carry some brand name are not highly processed — and, therefore, shouldn’t attract GST.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which claims to represent 60 million traders in the country, did not participate in the strike, but supported the demands of those that downed shutters Thursday. Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of CAIT, said: “If a section of traders are observing astrike, they must have some genuine concerns… There needs to be clarity on what a brand is.”

Praveen Chorbole, president of the Poona Merchants Chamber, said Maharashtra traders participated in the strike. “There is no tax on traders who buy directly from farmers. However, for packed and branded grains, tax has been introduced.’’ Separately, the Bombay Sugar Merchants’ Association participated in the agitation. “Apart from the one-time fixed tariff of Rs 71 per quintal charged at the mill gates as excise duty, sugar has by far never been brought under taxes,” a press release from the association mentioned

Sugar traders have expressed concern that they may have to take the liability of the pre-seller defaulting on the payment of GST.

“A sizeable number of mills have defaulted in settling dues to cane farmers, banks, co-operative societies etc. Any default in making GST payment by the millers that presently sell sugar on 100% cash payments to buyers, will adversely affect the traders who have purchased the stock during the period,” according to the statement.

Source : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/grain-traders-shut-shop-protest-against-imposition-of-gst/articleshow/59167792.cms

 

items of gst with rates    GST 0% Rate Category Items List  

items of gst with rates    GST 5% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 12% Rate Category Items List

items of gst with rates    GST 18% Rate Category Items List 

items of gst with rates    GST 28% Rate Category Items List    

 

Information Technology Act, 2000 | Notes

Use of computers to create, transmit and store information is becoming an indispensible part of today’s business.

Legal provisions in most of the statutes in India require paper records and signature of the relevant person.

However, to overcome the hurdle of paper documentation and to match the fast pace of technology, the IT Act had been enacted.

The purpose of Act is

  • to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange
  • to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies

The Act does not apply to

  • a negotiable instrument except cheque
  • a power-of-attorney
  • a trust deed
  • a will
  • any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property
  • any such class of documents or transactions as may be notified by the Central Government

The Act provides (relevant provisions):

  • Legal recognition to Electronic Transaction / Record
  • Legal recognition of digital signatures
  • Various types of computer crimes defined and stringent penalties provided under the Act
  • Electronic Governance

Unless there is a specific provision in a law to provide information in paper form, information provided in electronic form shall suffice the requirement

However, Section 8 further prescribes that no department or ministry can be compelled to accept application, return or any communication in electronic form.

If the Compact Disc (CD), Hard Disc, Pen-drive, Floppy etc., were not filled with any information, then, they could have been treated as goods. It would be necessary to know the meaning of electronic record and data etc., by importing the definitions of the same as stated in Information Technology Act. The word “electronic record” is defined under Section 2(1)(t) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, as “electronic record” means data, record or data generated, image or sound stored, received or sent in an electronic form or micro film or computer generated micro fiche.”

The aforementioned provisions make it clear that the information or data stored are part of the electronic record. Therefore, the material which is stored in such Hard Disc, Pen-drives etc., can be termed as electronic files or electronic documents. Such electronic document or records are admissible as per Section 65B(1) of the Evidence Act. The aforesaid provision makes it clear that information contained in the electronic record printed on a paper, stored, recorded or copied in optical or magnetic media produced by a computer shall be deemed to be also a document. Thus, the contention of the petitioner that the Floppies, Pen-drives, CDs etc., seized in this case should be treated as mere goods cannot be accepted. But, they are electronic records/documents. ‘Goods’ under Section 2(22)(e) of Customs Act, 1962 not include ‘documents’ or ‘files’ for purpose of Section 105 read with Section 110. – Stovekraft Pvt. Ltd. v Jt. Dir. [2007 (214) E.L.T. 179 (Kar.)]