Kolkata, August 12: The number of tax slabs in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime would be reduced with improvement in revenue, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said here Saturday.
GST currently has five tax slabs that include a list of exempted category (0 per cent rate) and four others with rates of 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent.
Defending the different slabs, he said the central government was trying to introduce the new tax system with the consent of states and did not want to impose it.
“The Centre may consider bringing down the number of tax slabs once it is convinced of improvement in revenues,” Meghwal said during an interactive session organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce.
According to the Union Minister, the idea behind multiple tax slabs was to ensure that smaller businesses were not affected. Moreover, the aim of the Central government was to simplify the tax structures through GST by bringing all State governments on board.
“Previously there was a Union list, a State list and a concurrent list. But with GST there will be uniformity in terms of taxation. We could have taken decisions in the GST council on the basis of a majority but that was not done, as we wanted to bring the States on board,” the minister said.
On the issue of extending fiscal incentives to specific tax-free manufacturing areas like Guwahati, the minister said the matter was still under consideration. The GST council would wait for the first set of returns to be filed towards the end of August before taking a call.
“The GST council will take a call on whether to extend sops to such manufacturing zones or not. But, as of now, we are waiting for the returns to be filed before taking any calls,” he said.
According to Meghwal, as many as 13.2 lakh new dealers have registered on the GST Network (GSTN) post the roll out.
Incidentally, West Bengal has seen the highest number of dealer registrations in the country with 56,000 dealers from the State registering on GSTN.
Registered dealers, in the pre-GST regime, were around 80 lakh. “Registered dealers may be facing some teething problems. But the system is perfect,” he said. Agencies