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February 20, 2023
By
Paramita

48th GST Council Meeting Highlights: Relief Measures, GST Rates, and Return Filing Changes

The 48th GST Council Meeting was held on June 14, 2021, chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The council discussed several important issues related to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and took key decisions to provide relief to COVID-impacted sectors and simplify the GST return filing process. Here are the highlights of the meeting:

Relief Measures for COVID-Impacted Sectors

The GST Council has announced several relief measures for sectors that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the tourism and hospitality industry. The council has decided to reduce the GST rates on COVID-related items and provide exemptions on certain COVID-related goods.

The GST rates on the following COVID-related items have been reduced:

  • Medical grade oxygen: from 12% to 5%
  • Oxygen concentrator, and other oxygen storage and transportation equipment: from 12% to 5%
  • Pulse oximeters: from 12% to 5%
  • Certain COVID-19 drugs such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, and Amphotericin B: from 12% to 5%

In addition, the GST Council has exempted the import of relief materials such as oxygen concentrators, medical grade oxygen, and other COVID-related drugs and equipment from IGST till August 31, 2021.

The council has also decided to reduce the GST rates on several other items, such as:

  • Hand sanitizers: from 18% to 5%
  • Masks: from 12% to 5%
  • Temperature check equipment: from 18% to 5%
  • Electric furnaces and ovens for crematoriums: from 18% to 5%

Changes in GST Return Filing Process

The GST Council has also announced some changes in the GST return filing process to simplify it for taxpayers. The council has decided to introduce a new quarterly return filing system for small taxpayers, with a turnover of up to Rs. 5 crore. This new system is expected to be implemented from January 1, 2022.

This new quarterly return filing system will replace the existing monthly and quarterly return filing system. Under this system, taxpayers will have to file only one quarterly return instead of three monthly returns. This will reduce the compliance burden for small taxpayers and help them focus more on their business activities.

In addition, the GST Council has also decided to introduce an automated refund system from January 1, 2022. Under this system, taxpayers will not have to file refund applications separately. The refund amount will be automatically credited to their bank accounts.

Conclusion

The 48th GST Council Meeting has taken several important decisions to provide relief to COVID-impacted sectors and simplify the GST return filing process. The reduction in GST rates on COVID-related items and other items will provide relief to the common man, while the new quarterly return filing system will reduce the compliance burden for small taxpayers. The automated refund system will also make the refund process hassle-free for taxpayers. These decisions are expected to have a positive impact on the economy and provide much-needed relief to businesses and taxpayers.

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