The GST Council is also set to consider steps to ease the compliance burden for traders and businesses.
The GST Council is expected to accept the recommendations of a ministerial panel which has proposed reducing the tax rate on air-conditioned restaurants to 12% from 18% now and to reduce tax rates under the composition scheme to 1%. Mr Jaitley had earlier this week hinted at pruning the list of items in the highest GST tax bracket of 28 per cent.
Some items of plastic attract an 18 per cent GST but goods such as shower baths, sinks, wash basins, bidets, lavatory pans, seats/covers, flushing cisterns and similar sanitary ware of plastics attract a 28 per cent levy. "We have been gradually bringing them down". But to help exporters tide over a liquidity crisis, the council at its last meeting on 6 October chose to continue two pre-GST schemes that allow duty-free sourcing of materials for export production till March 2018.
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The GST Council, which comprises of representatives of all states, have already rationalised tax rates for over 100 items. "The whole idea is, as your revenue collections neutralises we must prune it", he had said. There have been demands for lowering tax on wooden furniture as it is mostly handmade by unorganised sector artisans, with the middle class as the primary consumers.
In the run-up to the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the opposition party and its leaders have been targeting the government over difficulties faced by some businesses under the GST regime, with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi even calling it a "Gabbar-Singh Tax (GST)".
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who is also a member of the GST council, today said tax rates on 80 per cent items of top 28 per cent slab are likely to be slashed at the council's meeting starting tomorrow.
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Apart from bringing down the taxes, the GST Council may also take call on incentivising digital transactions for both customers and traders to boost digital payments in the country.
In its last meeting, the Council had allowed quarterly return filing and tax payment for those with an annual turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore. It had proposed a uniform tax rate of 12 per cent.
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