On May 28, 2021, the GST Council will meet for the 43rd time (Friday). The meeting, which will take place virtually through video conferencing at 11 a.m., will be chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Anuragthakur, as well as Finance Ministers from States and UTs and senior officers from the Union Government and States, will attend the conference.
This meeting takes place in the midst of ongoing calls for GST relief on key inputs needed for COVID-19 relief. This is the first GST Council meeting of 2021, following the deadly COVID-19 second wave that swept the country. The council gathered for the 42nd time on October 5, 2020, to address the problem of compensating states for revenue shortfalls in 2020-21.
1) GST on Covid Supplies
The main focus is likely to be on tax relief for COVID-19 vaccines and essential medical supplies that are subject to indirect taxes. To greatly reduce the cost of battling COVID, the GST Council should set GST on items like hand sanitizers, oximeters, and oxygen concentrators at zero.
There have also been calls to eliminate the anomaly surrounding the importation of oxygen concentrators for personal use, which needs to be addressed. The Delhi High Court has quashed the 12 percent levy that was levied on May 1st.
The Council will also consider the state of Delhi's proposal for a reduction in the 5% GST on vaccines and other GST levies on all types of COVID relief content.
2) GST on Two Wheelers
According to a report in IANS, the council may also take up two other significant things at its next meeting, including lowering GST rates for two-wheelers and bringing natural gas into the indirect tax fold.
3) Natural Gas GST
Natural gas may be used in a three-tier GST scheme, with prices varying depending on consumption, according to reports. As a result, while residential piped natural gas (PNG) could be taxed at a lower rate of 5%, commercial piped natural gas could be taxed at a median rate of 18%, and car fuel CNG could be taxed at a maximum rate of 28%.
The Council has agreed to include five petroleum products under GST in theory, but has postponed their actual incorporation into the indirect because states fear a significant revenue loss. However, the government is now considering bringing natural gas under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system first, as bringing the entire oil and gas sector under it would be difficult.
4) Inverted Tax Structure
Fertilizer, steel utensils, solar panels, tractors, tyres, electrical transformers, pharma, textile, fabric, and railway locomotives all require inverted tax structure correction. Although imported tyres are currently subject to a 10% duty, inputs such as rubber are subject to a 20% duty. Solar modules, on the other hand, are duty-free, though their components are subject to a 5%-10% levy.
5) GST Refunds
The GST refunds and the concerns of exporters are also required to be addressed by the GST Council. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on industries such as hotels, tourism, and retail. The Council will have to consider releasing GST refunds to these industries as soon as possible.
The Council will be asked to extend enforcement deadlines once more, particularly because income tax filers have been given such leeway. Business groups have also lobbied the Council for a complete waiver of interest and late fees during the COVID months.