The GST council has started discussions to make changes in the GST tax rates. The government is facing serious shortage of tax revenue. It began rate reviews and GST revenue will be the gist of the talks.
The GST Council asked the state GST officials to come up with suggestions and proposals that could add to the revenue generation in the meeting to be held on 18th December. The meeting will focus on reviewing the exempted items from tax and adjusting tax rates to address invert duty structure. Further, the officials will take up the problem of delayed compensation to states due to shortfall in GST revenue and also seek compliance measures to increase revenue.
Currently, GST has seven slabs of tax rates and the majority of goods are under 12% and 18% slabs. The council is planning to merge these into a single slab of 15%. Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister said that the government will ensure to keep imperative items under the lowest rate. However, expect rationalization of rates of other items.
The RBI declared a fall in effective GST rate from 14.4% in May 2017 to 11.6% in 2019. This has decreased the government’s revenue of around Rs 2 lakh crore annually. The government’s net direct tax collection from April to November summed up to Rs 5.5 lakh crore depicting a rise of 0.7% as against 14.4% last year. Moreover, Kerala, Delhi, West Bengal Rajasthan, and Punjab have raised concerns regarding the delayed payments of compensations, of about Rs 38000 crore by the central government which was due in October. Besides, the revenue from the service sector has not risen because of the slowdown in investments.
The government plans to raise GST tax on certain products like tobacco, automobile and soft drinks. The council has directed the states to review the list of exempted items.
In all, though the government has taken steps to increase the efficiency of the tax payment system using technology, the economic slowdown has impacted the revenue severely.