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NEW DELHI: Time is of essence when providing tax relief, and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council could have cut levies on covid related items and offered a liberal tax payment scheme to businesses at its meeting last month, industry body PHDCCI said in a statement.

The appeal for timely tax relief comes on the eve of the GST Council meeting a second time in a fortnight to take a call on demands for GST rate cut on covid related medical supplies. The industry body is also seeking a quick decision on a proposed scheme that would allow small businesses to file returns and pay taxes on a quarterly basis. Now, although returns could be filed every quarter, they have to pay GST on a monthly basis.

“In 43rd GST Council meeting, no decision was taken for making quarterly payment under the ‘quarterly return monthly payment’ (QRMP) scheme which would have helped the small taxpayers. It was decided that law committee will look into the same, seems like all the decisions which would have helped the taxpayers were deferred for a later date," the industry body said in a statement, quoting its president Sanjay Aggarwal.

It also said the issue of whether to lower GST rate or to grant an exemption on Covid-19 related items such as medicines were discussed at the previous Council meeting at length but a group of ministers (GoM) was set up to decide on this issue.

“It is to be noted that forming a GoM, submitting of report by GoM, then holding a meeting for discussion is a long process and at this point of time, time is of utmost importance and delegating the issue to GoM will only delay the process of providing much needed relief to the common man by reduction in pricing of the Covid -19 related items including vaccine for all," said the statement.

GST Council is set to consider tax cuts on some of the medical supplies needed for covid management including oxygen and pulse oximeters at its meeting, scheduled for Saturday.

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