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With COVID-19 pandemic taking the world by storm, the 40th GST council meeting was held on Friday, 12th June 2020 via video conferencing, for the first time in history. The 40th GST Council meeting was chaired by the Union FM Nirmala Sitharaman and made important announcements on GST return late fee waiver, reduced interest rate further being extended on account of COVID-19 crisis.
Further, discussions on GST compensation, inverted tax structure, possibility of rate rationalisation were postponed to the next council meeting. A special meeting will be held in July 2020 only to discuss about GST compensation to states and ways to fund the same.
GST late fee reduction for prior periods 1st July 2017 to 31st January 2020 is as follows:
For small taxpayers whose aggregate turnover is up to Rs 5 crore, the rate of interest for late furnishing of GST returns for Feb, Mar and April 2020, beyond 6th July 2020 (as per staggered dates), is being reduced from 18% to 9% p.a, for filing of returns done before 30th September 2020.
Note that there is no interest charge if tax for these months is paid before 6th July 2020 or date as applicable based on turnover. Also, for the months May, June and July 2020, the late fee and interest will be waived off, if the returns are filed before 30th September 2020 (staggered dates are yet to be announced).
Period for seeking revocation of cancelled GST registrations allowed till 30th September 2020 for all those registrations which were cancelled till 12th June 2020. The time limit, as per GST Act, was thirty days from the date of issue of the cancellation order.
Tax collections have suffered in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and consequent lockdown. The Finance Minister announced collections for the month of April and May were 45% lower than the usual range.
The GST Council is looking to correct the inverted duty structure under which tax levied on inputs is higher than the tax on finished products leading to a higher amount of refunds. This might be corrected but must be done at the right time, said the Finance Minister.
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