Arun Jaitley hints at further rationalisation of tax rates, says GST structure has stabilised

GST is an indirect tax which was introduced in India on July 1, 2017.

Arun Jaitley hints at further rationalisation of tax rates, says GST structure has stabilised

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) structure had stabilised, which offered an opportunity to further rationalise tax rates and increase the tax base.

"The Goods and Services Tax (GST) has brought about total change in the tax structure of indirect taxes within the country," he said at the Investiture Ceremony and International Customs Day 2018.

"Compared with what has happened across the world, it has stabilised in a much shorter period in India," the FM added.

Indicating further cuts in GST rates, he said this stabilisation of the GST structure offered the government an opportunity to increase its base and rationalise its structure as it continued to evolve, IANS reported.

The GST Council had, in its meeting on January 18, 2018, decided to slash the GST rate on 54 services and 29 items. 

Earlier, in its November 10, 2017, meeting, the council had removed 178 items from the highest 28 percent category while cutting tax on all restaurants outside starred-hotels to 5 percent.

"In income tax, the base has become larger; it's bound to enlarge. And, therefore, charging higher rates from few selected groups - which is traditionally been done - is an area which has been changing," Jaitley said. 

Notably, the net direct tax collections witnessed an increase of 18.7 percent till January 15 this fiscal compared with the corresponding period last year (2017).

GST collections reverse trend, rise to Rs 86,703 cr in December 2017:

It was announced on January 25, 2018, that halting two months of decline, the GST collections had gathered momentum in December 2017, rising to Rs 86,703 crore.

Total revenue collections under GST for the month of December 2017 (received in December 2017/January up to January 24, 2018) has been Rs 86,703 crore till January 24, 2018," the finance ministry had said in a statement.

Total collections under GST in November 2017 had slipped for the second straight month to Rs 80,808 crore, from over Rs 83,000 crore in October 2017. In September 2017, it was over Rs 92,150 crore, PTI reported.

The collections had declined in November 2017 after the GST Council had cut rates on more than 200 items.

The ministry had further said that one crore taxpayers had been registered under GST till January 24, 2018, of which 17.11 lakh are composition dealers who are required to file returns every quarter.

As many as 56.30 lakh GSTR 3B returns have been filed for December 2017, it had said.

GST is an indirect tax which was introduced in India on July 1, 2017, and is applicable throughout India. It replaced multiple cascading taxes levied by the central and state governments. 

(With Agency inputs)

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