Restaurateurs, exporters hopeful ahead of GST Council meeting

New Delhi: With the 23rd meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the cards, exporters, small traders and those in the restaurant business are hoping for a much-needed relief to come their way.

The GST Council meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is likely to witness deliberations on a number of topics, including extended liberalization given to small traders, rate cuts on A/C restaurants from 18 to 12 percent, and the issue of benami properties.

Additionally, the council is also expected to shed light upon the issues faced by the SME sector on account of the new taxation scheme and issues related to the fixture of maximum retail price or MRP on various goods.

The council is also expected to slash tax rates on various goods of common consumption such as handmade furniture, shampoo, sanitary ware, plywood, stationery articles, and play instruments, among others. It is also likely to deliver its decision on the proposal for big businesses to file GST returns quarterly instead of monthly, and raising the sales ceiling for small businesses from Rs1 crore to Rs1.5 crore, thus enabling them to capitalise on the composition scheme are among the proposals before the GST Council.

The council is also expected to throw light on the recommendations proposed by a panel of ministers to reduce tax rates under the composition scheme to 1 percent.

In the previous meeting, the council had decided to give an option to taxpayers to avail the composition scheme if their turnover is less than Rs. 1 crore, as against the previous limit of Rs. 75 lakh.

Under the composition scheme, the tax rate for traders of goods will be 1 per cent, 2 per cent for manufacturers and 5 per cent for restaurants and suppliers of food or drinks.

Further, it was decided that the SMEs with an annual turnover of Rs. 1.5 crore will be allowed to file quarterly returns.

The 23rd GST Council Meeting will be held in Guwahati. (ANI)