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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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India Aims For Fewer GST Slabs, Says Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj

The government aims to simplify Goods and Services Tax by consolidating the lower tax slabs, and establishing a dispute redressal system, according to Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj.

Though the highest tax rate of 28% charged on sin goods such as tobacco products and luxury items would remain, there could be simplicity in terms of GST slabs, Bajaj said at an Assocham event to mark the fifth anniversary of the implementation of the indirect tax regime. “India needs fewer slabs. 28% slab will remain, but whether the 5%,12%, and 18% rates can be simplified is yet to be seen.”

“The GST has been nimble and, in the next one to two years, we aim for stability. The next five years, we will focus on growth,” Bajaj said, adding that more “deliberation” is needed on inclusion of fuel in the GST regime as it is a source of revenue for the state and the centre.

Besides, establishing a dispute redressal system, according to him, would be discussed by the GST Council at the next meeting in Madurai in the first week of August. A group of ministers has been constituted to deliver by July-end recommendations on the model of redressal tribunal and its composition.

The council will also take a call on the final report of the GoM on casino, horse racing and online gaming.

CBIC Chairman Vivek Johri said it is unrealistic to see the GST as an event, not a process, and not blame it for global headwinds.

The GST, he said, has generated awareness among the public about taxes, and has streamlined the system to protect honest taxpayers. “Often we hear that input tax credit has reduced tax revenue, but the percentage of taxes paid through ITC [input tax credit] has gone up.”

In FY22, tax revenue saw 49% growth, much of which Bajaj credited to the growth of GST. “We hope GST would be the mainstay of indirect taxes.”

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