GST to roll out on July 1

The GST Council has agreed on July 1 rollout of the Goods and Services Tax despite some pending issues. Regarding the government's preparedness, Finance Minister Jaitley noted that over 80 per cent registered entities have already received their provisional GST registrations. There are 80.91 lakh assessees of whom some will get excluded, he said. Some new trades will come under the GST for the first time.

The Finance Minister said that the Council has allowed businesses a relaxation of time for the first two months (July-August) for filing their returns. These would also need to submit only a simple declaration initially, and would have time to furnish the exact “invoice-by-invoice data“ later.

The GST Council also decided on a two-slab structure for taxing lottery tickets. While state-run lot teries will be taxed at 12 per cent under the GST, state-authorised private lotteries will attract tax at the highest rate of 28 per cent.

The Council deferred a decision on e-way bills due to lack of consensus, which means states which have an e way bill structure in place can continue with it, while others are exempt. Eway bill is an electronic way bill for movement of goods which can be generated on the GST Network portal. Movement of goods of more than Rs.50,000 in value cannot be made by a registered person without an e-way bill.

All border posts will be removed from July 1 with the implementation of the GST.

The Council also decided that hotel rooms in the tariff range of Rs.2,000-Rs.7,500 a day would attract 18 per cent tax, while rooms with daily tariff above Rs.7,500 would be taxed at 28 per cent. Restaurant service in 5-star hotels would attract 18 per cent tax.

Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are still to complete the legislative formalities for implementing the GST regime.

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