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GST Council meet: Govt allows Kerala to impose 1% disaster cess on intra-State sales; check details

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (File photo)

GST Council meet: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday allowed the state government of Kerala to impose 1 per cent disaster cess on intra-state sales for a period of two years. The proposed cess is a special tax that will be levied to raise additional resources to fund rehabilitation work in the state hit by floods.

The Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had come up with the idea of levying cess to fund flood relief work. According to the recommendation of the 32nd GST Council meeting, which held in New Delhi today, the cess can be imposed for sales within the Kerala State for a period of two years.

“The levy is permitted under the Goods and Services Tax law,” Jaitley said. As per GST norms, a special levy can be imposed for a specified period to raise additional resources to cope up with the losses of any natural disaster. In the last council meet, a final decision was not taken as some of the states opposed the levy.

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Meanwhile, in a major relief to small businesses, GST Council announced to raise the GST exemption threshold to Rs 40 lakh from the earlier Rs 20 lakh. According to original GST structure, individuals and establishments offering goods and services more than Rs 20 lakh had to get registered and comply with onerous filing requirements.

With the latest development, the establishments and people who provide services or both goods and services with a turnover of up to Rs 50 lakhs will be entitled to a composition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. The raised exemption threshold would allow nearly 20 lakh taxpayers to opt out of GST if they chose to.

In its last meeting, the GST Council had cut tax rates on seven items previously placed in the highest tax slab. Rationalising the 28 per cent tax slab, the council had pruned the GST rates on six items to 18 per cent slab and one item to five per cent slab. In total, the panel had reduced rates on 23 goods and services.

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Source: Financial Express