Next GST Council meeting likely on GST rate rejig in December 2021

The GST Council may meet during the third week of December 2021 to take up certain vital matters. These include GST rate rationalisation and inverted tax structure-related issues. The 46th GST Council meeting shall be arranged since the last one in September 2021.

A senior Finance Ministry official has informed the news publications that the GST Council will meet in December 2021. It will discuss the GST rate rejig matters pending for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The actual date of the meeting shall be fixed once the Group of Ministers’s (GoM) report on rate rationalisation is presented. The GoM was constituted in the previous 45th GST Council meeting held on 17th September 2021. The Council appointed the Karnataka CM, Basavaraj S Bommai, to lead the seven-member GoM. The committee is tasked to study and recommend the rationalisation of tax rates or any change in the present slab structure. It has to submit the report within two months before the GST Council.

The members of the GoM include Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, Haryana and Delhi Deputy Chief Ministers Dushyant Chautala and Manish Sisodia, and ministers from Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Assam. This group is expected to subsume the existing two ministerial groups on IT challenges and revenue mobilisation due to the overlapping tasks in their mandates.

The GoM is likely to meet during this week to discuss the matter. The group would have to make immediate modifications to the GST rate structure and develop a roadmap for short- and medium-term improvements. While a slab modification was under consideration, the finance minister ruled out a slab merger at the moment, at least for now. The Council is also developing measures to close the revenue gap or gaps between the state and the federal government. It has constituted a separate GoM for the same.

The order to form GoM further stated the tasks that are assigned to it. To plug income leakage, the GoM on systems reforms would identify potential sources of evasion and advise modifications in the corporate processes and IT systems. It should locate mechanisms for better coordination between central and state tax administrations and tax administrations of different states in the country and suggest timelines for changes recommended. It must identify potential uses of data analysis for better compliance and revenue augmentation.

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