23 July, 2018
National Award winning Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, whose film "Pad Man" tried to create awareness on menstrual hygiene, has thanked the GST Council for making sanitary napkins Goods and Services Tax (GST) free.
Sanitary napkins, which attract 12 per cent tax, and fortified milk, which was taxed at 18 per cent, have been exempt from the new indirect tax.
The Goods and Services Tax Council on Saturday slashed rates on over 50 products in a move aimed at appealing to traders and the middle classes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government eyes next year's elections.
The issue has also been a focus of political debate in Britain where sanitary products are still taxed as a "luxury" product.
These amendments will now be placed before Parliament and the legislature of the state and Union territories for carrying out the amendments in the respective GST acts, the minister said. Sources said the Council may consider a reduction in tax rates on the host of items with low revenue implications as part of the tax rationalization exercise.
Previously there were around 226 goods in the 28 per cent category when GST was implemented on July 1, 2017.
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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 per cent rate.
Among other changes, small businesses with sales of up to Rs 5 crores has been allowed to file tax returns on a quarterly basis but they will have to pay GST tax monthly.
However, the decision to raise quarterly filing of returns from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 5 crore annual turnover, may not actually materialise, fear tax experts.
Taxpayers who are yet to register under the GST have been given a final extension till August 31.
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. They demanded the withdrawal of the 12 per cent GST on the pads. The Council will meet next on August 4.
Another significant decision the council made was regarding easing of return filing procedure by approving two new simplified forms called "Sugam" and "Sahaj", the minister said. With the stabilisation of revenue, the rate on many items were gradually reduced.