Highlights from the 49th GST Council meeting

The 49th GST Council meeting happened on 18th February 2023 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It gained importance due to the meeting being the first one soon after the presentation of the Budget 2023. Further, the 49th GST Council meeting was the third to occur almost immediately in the same month as the Budget’23 presentation. 2017 and 2019 had similar meetings taking crucial decisions; hence, all eyes were on this meeting. Here’s a lowdown on what the Union FM briefed the press after the conclusion of the 49th GST Council meeting on Saturday

  • The GST Council accepted two GoM reports, one with slight modifications and with an understanding that amendments would be done in the language of the Finance Bill.
  • All GST compensation dues to be cleared today pending for June 2022 (when the compensation cess regime ended) of Rs.16,982 crore. It shall be funded by using own resources of the central government and recouped from the future compensation cess collections. Further, Rs.16,524 crore shall be released to states as and when the AG’s certificate is received.
  • GST rate cut was decided on Rab/Liquid jaggery from the earlier 18% to nil (when sold lose) or 5% (when sold labelled/packaged).
  • GST rate cut on pencil sharpeners was also recommended at 12% from the earlier 18%.
  • GST on tracking devices fixed on durable containers will be brought down to nil, subject to conditions.
  • For instance, renting the premises by registries of courts/tribunals for commercial use to local bodies and other services provided by them will attract tax levy on a reverse charge basis.
  • The GST Council also exempted the coal rejects supplied by and to the washeries.
  • FM announced rationalisation of the late fee charged for delayed filing of annual returns (GSTR-9/9C) from FY 2022-23 onwards as follows- 
    • Registered persons with Aggregate Annual Turnover (AATO) of up to Rs.5 crore is fixed at Rs. 25 per day, subject to a maximum cap of 0.02% of turnover per Act.
    • Registered persons with AATO more than Rs.5 crore to 20 crore is fixed at Rs 50 per day, subject to max cap 0.02% of turnover per Act.
  • The much-awaited GST amnesty scheme was announced for delayed GSTR-4, GSTR-9 & GSTR-10  returns, wherein the late fee is reduced.
  • Special composition scheme was considered for certain sectors – pan masala, Gutkha, etc.
  • GoM on the appellate tribunal was considered with some modifications, which will be re-drafted and circulated with members of GST Council for approval.
  • The matter of MUV classification in line with SUVs could not be taken up due to the paucity of time.
  • GST on cement did not come up with the fitment committee for further study, while the GST rate cut on millet-based health products needed more discussions.
  • One single bench was recommended by the GoM on GST appellate tribunal, with the primary bench in Delhi and benches in every state. Each appellate tribunal bench will have a four-member bench that may be shorter according to the size of tax amounts involved. The bench shall have two technical members and two judicial members. It was recommended that the technical members shall be represented from the centre and states at 50% each.
  • Modifications will be made in how the selection of members of the judicial panel is to be carried out, as expressed by a few members of GST Council, that claimed it needed more state representation.
  • GoM report on pan masala was accepted as it is.
  • The GoM report on online gaming could not be taken up due to the absence of the Meghalaya FM heading the committee.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at annapoorna.m@clear.in

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