Mobile phone prices to go up as GST Council raises tax to 18%

Mobile phone prices to go up as GST Council raises tax to 18%

The GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council has decided to increase the levy of tax on mobile phones and specific parts from 12 per cent to 18 per cent. The council decided to work towards boosting the capacity of the GSTN system and improving staff response and solutions, as proposed by Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani. The task will be completed by July 2020 instead of January 2021, the council stated.

The council gave relief to domestic maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service providers. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during a press meet after the GST Council meet, said it was decided to reduce the GST rate on MRO services in respect of aircraft from 18 per cent to 5 per cent with full ITC (input tax credit) and to change the place of supply for B2B MRO services to the location of the recipient.

She said there would be one rationalised rate of GST, which is 12 per cent for both hand-made and machine-made matchsticks.

The council has extended the deadline for filing the GST9R and GSTR9C for FY18-19 till June 30. The earlier deadline was March 31. “Late fees not to be levied for the delayed filing of the annual return & reconciliation statement for 2017-18 & 2018-19 for taxpayers with aggregate turnover less than Rs 2 crore,” Sitharaman said.

Taxpayers with over Rs 5 crore annual turnovers will have to file for GST mandatorily. Earlier, the turnover limit was Rs 2 crores. The council has decided not to hike rates of fertilisers and footwear given the current economic scenario and effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

She also said the government had given GST compensation worth Rs 1.2 lakh crore to states. She added the Centre would first seek a legal opinion on borrowing and subsequent repayment of funds by the member states. Sitharaman said the GST Council would hold a separate meeting to discuss the issue of delay in payment of compensation cess to states.

Infosys founder Nandan Nilekani, during a detailed presentation to the council, proposed a plan to overhaul the GST network to identify glitches. He promised that all changes would be accommodated and all glitches would be sorted out by January 2021. Bihar CM Sushil Modi made a presentation on the current Income Tax challenges and presented a detailed review of the glitches to the council.

On the issue of hike in excise duty by Rs 3, the FM said: “I don’t think excise hike will result in any increase in fuel prices. Fuel prices have actually gone down, I can confidently say there is no increase in fuel prices in any part of the country, in fact, there’s a reduction.” The GST Council members didn’t discuss the issue of coronavirus during the meeting.