The 49th meeting of the GST Council, which is chaired by the Union finance minister and comprises representatives of all states and UTs, will take place on February 18 in New Delhi. The issues likely to be taken up during the meeting are taxation on ‘pan masala’ and ‘gutka’ companies, setting up of appellate tribunals, and GST levy on online gaming, casino, and horse racing.
“The 49th meeting of the GST Council is scheduled to be held at New Delhi on 18th February, 2023,” the GST Council said in a tweet on Friday.
The Council is likely to discuss the report of a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the setting up of appellate tribunals and a GoM report on the taxation of ‘pan masala’ and ‘gutka’ firms. It is also expected to take up the report by another GoM, chaired by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, on GST levy on online gaming, casinos and horse racing.
These three GoM reports were part of the agenda items in the last GST Council meeting, which was held on December 17, 2022.
The GoM on GSTATs, appellate tribunals, was set up in July under the chairmanship of Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala. Once set up, the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) will ensure that businesses can approach the Tribunal instead of the high court for many matters.
In the last meeting, the GST Council recommended decriminalising certain offences and bringing down GST on certain items to nil. The three kinds of offences to be decriminalised that have been recommended by the Council are related to — obstruction or preventing any officer in the discharge of his duties; deliberate tempering of material evidence; and failure to supply the information.
During the 48th GST Council meeting, the threshold tax amount limit for launching a prosecution in any criminal offence defined under the GST laws was also increased from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore for all offences, except fake invoices.
It also decided to reduce tax rates on the husk of pulses, including chilka and concentrates, to nil, and on ethyl alcohol to 5 per cent.
The GST Council makes recommendations to the Union and the states on issues related to GST, like the goods and services that may be subjected or exempted from GST, model GST laws, principles that govern the place of supply, threshold limits, GST rates including the floor rates with bands, special rates for raising additional resources during natural calamities/ disasters, and special provisions for certain states, among others.
The recommendations of the GST Council are based on a three-fourth majority of the members present and voting. The central government’s vote counts as one-third, while the weightage of the states’ total votes is two-thirds.
The Supreme Court in its ruling in May said the GST Council is only a recommendatory body and its recommendations are not binding on the Centre or states. The apex court added that the Council’s recommendations will have a “persuasive value” and that both Parliament and the state legislatures can equally legislate on the matters related to GST.