Soon, businesses comprising over 90 per cent of goods and services tax (GST) payers will be allowed to file quarterly return, finance minister Piyush Goyal said in his Interim Budget 2019-20 speech in Parliament today. The average monthly tax collection in the current year is ₹97,100 crore per month as compared to ₹89,700 crore per month in the first year.
“GST has resulted in increased tax base, higher collections and ease of trade. This will reduce the interface between the tax payer and the Government for day-to-day operations and assessments. Now returns are fully online and e-way bill system is in place. Inter-state movements have become faster, more efficient, and hassle free with no Entry Tax, check posts, and truck queues,” Goyal said in his speech.
The GST Council, comprising the Centre and States/UTs, finalised the GST rates collectively mostly lower than pre-GST rates. Since then, GST has been continuously reduced providing relief of about ₹80,000 crore annually to consumers.
Most items of daily use of the poor and middle class are now in the 0 per cent or 5 per cent tax slab. “Our Government wants the GST burden on home buyers to be reduced and accordingly we have moved the GST Council to appoint a Group of Ministers to examine and make recommendations in this regard at the earliest,” Goyal said.
Stating that GST aims to benefit small traders, manufacturers and service providers, Goyal said, “Exemptions from GST for small businesses has been doubled from ₹20 lakh to ₹40 lakh. Further, small businesses having turnover up to ₹1.5 crore have been given an attractive composition scheme wherein they pay only 1 per cent flat rate and have to file one annual return only. Similarly, small service providers with turnover up to ₹50 lakh can now opt for composition scheme and pay GST at 6 per cent instead of 18 per cent. More than 35 lakh small traders, manufacturers and service providers will benefit from these trader friendly measures.”
Moreover, the state revenues are improving with guaranteed 14 per cent annual revenue increase for the first five years.
The government has also undertaken rationalisation of customs duties and procedures promote the ‘Make in India’ initiative. “Our Government has abolished duties on 36 capital goods. A revised system of importing duty-free capital goods and inputs for manufacture and export has been introduced, along with introduction of single point of approval under section 65 of the Customs Act,” Goyal said. “Indian Customs is introducing full and comprehensive digitalisation of export/import transactions and leveraging RFID technology to improve export logistics.”