Industry hails late-fee relief for GST non-filers, demands zero tax rate on med devices, health services
Industry chambers on Saturday said the GST amnesty of reducing late fees for delayed monthly return filing will provide some relief to small taxpayers, and demanded complete waiver of the late fees and interest.
They, however, expressed disappointment over no decision on demands of zero-rating of healthcare services, medical devices and equipment used in COVID-19 treatment.
PHD Chamber President Sanjay Aggarwal said that small and medium businesses have been severely impacted due to the pandemic and allowing them to file pending returns with reduced late charges, will encourage them to file returns and ease their compliance burden.
Industry body Ficci said the recommendation on the amnesty scheme to reduce the late fee will provide some relief to the small taxpayers. “However, Ficci recommends a waiver from the late fees and interest”.
The GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and comprising state ministers, on Friday decided to come out with an amnesty scheme to provide relief to taxpayers in late fee for pending returns.
The late fee for non-furnishing of GSTR-3B for July 2017 to April 2021 has been capped at Rs 500 per return for those taxpayers who did not have any tax liability.
For those with tax liability, a maximum of Rs 1,000 per return late fees will be charged, provided such returns are filed by August 31, 2021.
The GST Council in its 43rd meeting on Friday left taxes on COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies and formed a group of ministers (GoM) to recommend tax rates on these items. The panel will submit its report by June 8.
The Council also decided that import of COVID-related goods such as medical oxygen and vaccines will be exempt from GST till August 31, even if those are imported on a payment basis or free of cost for donating to the government or a state-approved agency.
Ficci President Uday Shankar said a quick decision on GST rates on COVID related essentials will help us attain self-sufficiency in this need of the hour.
“FICCI was also hoping to see a decision regarding our long-pending demand for zero-rating of healthcare services for a period of 24 months during this pandemic period for the healthcare sector. We believe this would further empower the healthcare undertakings to prepare and tackle the ongoing second wave and impending third wave,” Shankar added.
Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) Director Sanjay Bhutani said the industry’s request for a zero-rating of medical devices and equipment used in the treatment of COVID-19 has not been considered.
“The MedTech industry has been shouldering the fight against the pandemic since day one when even the COVID vaccination was not developed.
“Zero-rating at least the COVID management products would have reduced the cost of imports, while for a domestic manufacturer, they would have been able to avail input tax credit and utilise against other products or claim refund,” Bhutani added.
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan Attorneys Director Shweta Walecha said though the GoM has been directed to submit the report by June 8, 2021, to examine the need for further reductions and decide on any new rates or exemptions, however, the final decision on rate could delay further since the date for next council meeting has not been announced.
“Industries hit hard due to COVID such as hospitality, tour and travel, automobiles, etc. also require some relaxation in GST to be able to sustain themselves. The Council has not discussed such issues in this meeting,” Walecha added.
( Originally published on May 29, 2021 )