Mint Quick Edit | GST needs a remake, not just small tweaks

GST has made taxation far simpler in its seven-odd years of existence. (PTI)
GST has made taxation far simpler in its seven-odd years of existence. (PTI)

Summary

  • The GST Council has announced various changes to make compliance easier. Good. For impact, though, it needs to move beyond minutiae and take up ambitious reforms.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council under the chairpersonship of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, after its first meeting on Saturday since the new government assumed office, has announced many changes to make compliance easier. Among them are a waiver of interest and penalty on certain past tax demands, tweaks in monetary limits to reduce litigation, reduction in the pre-deposit amount needed for filing appeals and exemption of railway platform tickets, among other items. 

These are welcome moves that will ease GST’s burden for some. Though a few minor rate moves were also announced, overall rate rationalization has been left for the next meeting to consider. This will be key. No doubt, GST has made taxation far simpler in its seven-odd years of existence. However, it’s still a work in progress. 

Also read: 53rd GST Council meeting key takeaways: No tax on platform tickets, tweaked tax rates | 10 major announcements

A reduced number of rate slabs and the inclusion of hydrocarbons under the regime must be matters of priority for GST to deliver on its promise of being a “good and simple tax". Thankfully, buoyant revenues can act as a cushion to re-craft this tax. Now is the time to go in for big-ticket reforms. The GST Council must get past minutiae for more substantive progress.

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