The implementation of India’s goods and service tax (GST) is in the hands of the GST Council, on which the central and state governments are equally represented. The council has met 22 times before and since GST was rolled out on 1 July, to discuss representations from various groups and make recommendations on tax rates, exemptions and other aspects in relation to GST.
In a public speech before the 22nd GST Council meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while referring to the mega-changes of demonetization and GST, mentioned that if sectors such as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the export sector needed temporary assistance on account of structural reforms, the government would be willing to provide it. He briefly discussed the need for special consideration for these sectors and this formed the basis of the 22nd GST Council meeting.
The meeting focused on issues faced by SMEs and the export sector and on consequent reforms directed towards them. Firstly, these sectors received a breather in terms of compliance requirements. Under the GST regime, every registered person is required to file three GST returns on a monthly basis to be able to benefit from input tax credit. The council recommended that any taxable person having an annual aggregate turnover of less than ₹15 million (US$230,000) be permitted to file GST returns on a quarterly basis.
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L Badri Narayanan is a partner and Asish Philip Abraham is a joint partner at Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan.
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