Small Businesses and traders to gain biggest with new GST laws

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday led the 3rd Goods and Services Tax (GST) council meeting after its implementation in July this year. The NDA government is now ready to make taxation regime less painful for the businessmen with a significant cut in taxes on the various commodities.

The Kerala minister said the Council was also looking at a few measures to address the liquidity issues being faced by exporters.

The scheme allows small businesses, including eateries, to pay 1-5 percent tax at a fixed rate of the turnover without having to deal with the three- stage filing process. The filing of returns on the quarterly basis for small businessmen has started from 1st October and will be asked to file monthly return for the July-September period.

The real estate sector can also expect some relief as it has been said that the stones used for constructions, that now come under 28% slab will go in 18%. Reverse charge is a mechanism where the recipient of the goods and/or services is liable to pay GST instead of the supplier.

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As regards the works contracts in the government sector, the GST rate has been reduced from 12% to 5% if the labour content in the contract is 75% or higher, but subject to the rider that there is no overflow of input tax credit as a result. Exporters will have to pay a nominal 0.1% tax on exports until March 31, 2018.

The steps announced Friday underscored New Delhi's efforts to simplify the system, which has come under criticism from investors and businesses for its complexity, numerous tax rates and complicated return-filing procedures.

In addition, the Council has chose to create a group of ministers (GoM) to look into the issues of extending composition scheme on inter-state trade and rationalising tax on restaurants.

CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said that the SME sector compliance will greatly improve as limit for composition scheme has been increased to Rs 1 crore.

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GST rate on 27 items reduced: FM Jaitley. Mr. Jaitley also announced the creation of a Group of Ministers that will look into various other problems that have arisen during the rollout of GST.

He also called for a "surgical strike" on the anomalies that prevailed in GST.

"There is an impression that large restaurants with 18 per cent tax have not reduced the prices despite the benefit of input tax credit being available", said Jaitley.

# Traders to pay 1%, manufacturers 2% and restaurants 5% under composition scheme. Suppliers of services other than manufacturer of ice cream, pan masala, or tobacco; casual taxable people or a non-resident taxable person; restaurant related services; and businesses which supply goods through an e-commerce operators can not get into this category.

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Small service providers with revenue less than ₹ 20 lakh have been added to the GST exempt list i.e they are exempted from registering with the GST network even if they are making inter-state taxable supplies of services.

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