India eases tax burden on small and medium firms

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Refunds for subsequent months would be handled expeditiously and other refunds of IGST paid on supplies to special economic zones (SEZs) and of inputs taxes on exports under bond or letter of undertaking will also start from October 10. No input tax credit can be claimed by those opting for composition scheme.

Exporters body FIEO's President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said that these initiatives will address the problem of the exporters particularly micro and small segments.

The Finance Minister announced that a concept paper on GST rate fitment has been approved by GST council.

A majority of these taxpayers have turnover below Rs.1 crore and though they have a low tax input, the compliance burden is quite high on them.

Of daily use items, GST on zari work, unbranded ayurveda medicine, dried mango, e-waste, plastic and rubber waste has been reduced to five per cent. Tax on stationery items, diesel engine parts, pump parts, flooring stones other than marble and granite has been reduced to 18 per cent. GST has been abolished on import of a number of goods, including rigs for oil and gas exploration and medicines supplied free by worldwide agencies and bona fide gifts up to Rs5,000.

The big focus on SMEs and exporters, which have been hit hard by GST, will see the Centre and the states allow for filing of quarterly returns by businesses with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore.

Crisil Research believes that removal of IGST on exports for six months and faster refunds will ease the working capital requirement and improve business efficiencies in the short-term for exporters. They will pay their tax and the refund will be offset within the wallet.

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"Every exporter will now get an e-wallet". Service providers can not opt for the scheme.

A new electronic system of e-wallet is being created for exporters, which will be implemented from April 1, 2018. Suppliers of services other than manufacturer of ice cream, pan masala, or tobacco; casual taxable people or a non-resident taxable person; restaurant related services; and businesses which supply goods through an e-commerce operators can not get into this category.

Gujarat Finance Minister Nitin Patel said on Friday evening that not only the major industries of textile and diamond but smaller groups in other cities will also get the benefit.

There is good news for mid-day meal schemes as well. The truth is that the Indian GST rate is now the highest in the world, he said. Food packets for school children under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) will be taxed at 5 per cent instead of 12.

There is good news on the services front too.

On the services front, job works such as imitation, zari, food items and printing items will now attract 5% GST instead of 12%.

If GST on service is reduced to 10-percent, then scope of tax on service can be reduced from present 20 lakh per annum to five lakh per annum with those availing service worth more than five lakhs required to deposit GST directly to public-exchequer rather than routed through service-provider.

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