New Delhi: The GST Council has pruned the 28% slab by cutting tax rates on 191 goods over the last one year, leaving just 35 items, including AC, digital camera, video recorders, dishwashing machine and automobiles, in the highest tax bracket.
There were around 226 goods in the 28% category when goods and services tax (GST) was implemented on 1 July, 2017.
Over the last one year, the Council, chaired by union finance minister and comprising state ministers, has slashed rates in 191 items.
The 35 goods, which will be left in highest slab once the new GST rates are implemented from 27 July, also include cement, automobile parts, tyres, automobile equipments, motor vehicles. yachts, aircrafts, aerated drinks, betting and demerit items like tobacco, cigarette and pan masala.
Experts said going forward as the revenues stabilise, the Council may look at further rationalisation of the 28% slab, to restrict the highest tax slab to super luxury and sin goods.
Deloitte India partner M.S. Mani said it would be logical to expect that once the GST collections after the recent reductions stabilise, the remaining items such as televisions of all sizes, dishwashers, digital cameras, air conditioners could be considered for an 18% rate.
“It would be ideal if only demerit goods are retained in the 28% slab so that a gradual movement towards having fewer GST slabs can be initiated," Mani said.
After the latest rounds of rate cuts by the GST Council on 21 July, only 35 items are left in the 28% tax slab, an official said.
The Council brought down tax rates to 18% from 28% on 15 items, including vacuum cleaners, washing maching, 68 cm (27 inch) TV, fridge, laundry machines, paints and varnishes.
“The rate cuts would lead to a revenue loss of about ₹ 6,000 crore," the official said.
The official, however, said that the revenue loss would be only notional as increased consumption and compliance would lead to more revenues to the exchequer.
EY partner Abhishek Jain said: “The reduction of GST rates from 28% to 18% shows that directionally, the government seems to be clear that the 28% rate should be restricted to super luxury and sin goods."