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Govt Doubles GST Exemption Limit for SMEs, Kerala Allowed to Impose 1% Cess for 2 Years

Govt Doubles GST Exemption Limit for SMEs, Kerala Allowed to Impose 1% Cess for 2 Years

 In a bid to give relief to small businesses, the GST Council on Thursday doubled the exemption limit and raised the threshold for availing the composition scheme.

The GST Council doubled the GST exemption limit to Rs 20 lakh for north eastern states and Rs 40 lakh for the rest of the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters.

The scope of the GST Composition Scheme, under which small traders and businesses pay a small tax based on turnover rather than value addition, was raised to Rs 1.5 crore from Rs 1 crore. Businesses availing the scheme would only have to pay tax every quarter but file returns once a year, Jaitly announced and said the move would help simplify the process.

The measures would give relief to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), he said.

The council also allowed Kerala to impose one per cent cess on intra-state sales for up to 2 years, Jaitley said, in order to help the state rebuild after the worst floods in a century left behind a trail of destruction.

On including real estate and lottery under the Goods and Services Tax, the council decided for form a seven-member group of ministers after differences of opinion emerged at the meeting, he said.

Jaitley last month had said the government was working towards a single national sales tax rate which could be a mid-point between 12 and 18%. The government set the range for GST from 28% to 5% on most items when the reform was introduced last year.

“A future road map could well be to work towards a single standard rate instead of two standard rates of 12 percent and 18 percent. It could be a rate at some mid-point between the two,” Jaitley had said.

He added that the country should look towards having slabs of zero, five percent and a standard rate for luxury and sin goods (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc.).

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