17 Jan 2018 13:10 IST

GST Council to focus on easing compliance burden

Tomorrow’s meeting will also discuss real estate inclusion, rate cuts

Ahead of Union Budget 2018-19, the Centre and States are set to meet on January 18 to ease the compliance burden on companies, through measures such as a simpler return form and potentially lower rates on some goods.

With a focus on the rural sector and small and medium enterprises, the Goods and Services Tax Council is also expected to discuss revision in rates of some goods, including handicraft items, agricultural equipment and food items.

“There are unlikely to be any big-bang rate cuts at present, but some corrections will be made in cases that are considered urgent,” said a source.

Additionally, the report of the Law Review Committee, which has called for further ease in compliance norms, especially in return filing, will also be taken up.

“Compliance is the main focus of this meeting, as it is also impacting revenue collections. A system of invoice matching also needs to be started,” said another source.

Though the GST Council has suspended the filing of GSTR-2 and GSTR-3, companies are expected to file GSTR-1. Sources said that a single return form is now likely to be introduced.

Further, changes to the composition scheme, are also likely.

The GST Council is also expected to begin work in earnest on inclusion of real estate under the tax net, an issue that has been on the agenda for some time.

While some groundwork and initial meetings have taken place, more discussions are required for all States to come on board. The meeting, which will be chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, will also look at the rollout of the E-Way Bill, which has started on a voluntary basis at present, but will become mandatory from February 1.

Additionally, the issue of revenue collections under GST also have to be discussed as the Centre and States get ready to present their annual Budgets.

Revenue dip

GST revenue fell for the second straight month in December to ₹80,808 crore from ₹83,346 crore in November.

Experts also believe that compliance and revenue collection will be the main issues before the Council.

“Revenue collections under GST have slowed down in the past few months and this is an area that would require extensive deliberations given that we are close to the Union Budget. Compliance processes under GST have been very cumbersome for business and methods for easing the compliance burden would also be a key discussion area,” said MS Mani, Senior Director, Deloitte India.

Archit Gupta, Founder and CEO of ClearTax, said that invoice matching of some sort would help capture revenue leakage.