At the 28th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting held on 21 July 2018, the GST rate for many consumer durables such as water coolers, mixers, grinders, water heaters, washing machines, paints, refrigerators, etc. has been reduced from 28% to 18%. With the GST rate being cut for most items that were initially under the 28% tax slab, only about 35 items such as video recorders, automobile equipment, motor vehicles, tobacco, pan masala, cigarettes, and a few more items remain in the 28% tax slab.
Over the past one year, the GST rate for 191 items have been reduced and experts are of the opinion that the rates for a few more items will be reduced, leaving only sin goods and high luxury items in the 28% slab.
Here is a tabular representation of a few of the goods for which the GST rates have been slashed:
|Initial GST rate (%)||Revised GST rate (%)||Goods|
|28||18||Washing machines, vacuum cleaners, paints and varnishes, refrigerators, lithium-ion batteries, TVs up to 68 cm|
|28||12||Fuel cell vehicle|
|18||12||Hand-operated rubber roller, brass kerosene pressure stove, bamboo flooring|
|18||5||Solid biofuel pellets, Footwear up to Rs.1,000|
|12||5||Handloom dari, Phosphoric acid-fertilizer grade, knitted caps up to Rs.1,000|
|18/12/5||Nil||Sanitary napkins, stone, sal leaves, wood deities, marble|
The GST rates for a few handicraft items such as jewellery boxes, glass statues, iron art ware, handmade lace, handmade carpets, etc. have been recommended to be decreased. The exemption from GST for such goods will provide a much-needed push to the handicraft industry that forms an important part of rural employment.
Apart from the GST rates, another key decision was taken during the GST Council meeting. Taxpayers, whose turnovers are below Rs.5 crore, can file returns on a quarterly basis. But they will have to pay GST every month. Other taxpayers whose turnovers are above Rs.5 crore will have to file returns on a monthly basis. Earlier, only taxpayers whose turnovers were below Rs.1.5 crore could file returns on a quarterly basis.