The GST Council on Saturday reduced tax rates on a slew of items incuding refrigerators, washing macines and small televisions from 28% to 18%, giving relief to the common man.Apart from bringing down rates, the council also exempted GST on sanitary napkins, rakhis, fortified milk and deities made of stone, marble and wood.

Addressing the media after the 28th meeting of the council, acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said: “Refrigerators, small televisions, of up to 25 inches, lithium ion batteries, vacuum cleaners, domestic electrical appliances, such as food grinders, mixers….storage water heaters, immersion heaters, hair dryers, hand driers, electric smoothing irons,” among others have been brought to the 18% slab.

Another significant decision the council made was regarding easing of the return filing procedure for small enterprises, the minister said. Enterprises with annual turnover of up to Rs 5 crore would have to file quarterly returns instead of the current monthly filing, although they would continue to pay tax on a monthly basis. However, the implementation of the revamped return filing process would take some time, the minister clarified. Among other tax-reduction decisions, Goyal said, tax rate on handicraft items such as handbags, pouches and purses, jewellery box, wooden frames of paintings and photographs, among others, have been brought under the 12% slab, from 18%. GST on handmade carpets and handmade textile floor coverings has been reduced from 12% to 5%. The tax rate on ethanol, which is used in the blending of petrol and diesel also has been brought down to 5% from 18%. The minister further informed that the council would have a special meeting on 4 August to address the concerns of small and medium enterprises.

IANS

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