The government introduced four bills to amend the GST laws which among other things seek to simplify the return forms and raise the turnover threshold for availing composition scheme to Rs 1.5 crore, reported PTI. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) amendment bills are primarily aimed at helping the MSME sector and small traders, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said while introducing the bills in the Lok Sabha. The Central GST (Amendment) Bill, Integrated GST (Amendment) Bill, GST (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill and Union Territory GST (Amendment) Bill are likely to be passed in the ongoing session of Parliament.
Objecting to the introduction of the bills as part of a second supplementary list of business today, Congress member Sunil Jakhar said these bills have been "hurriedly brought" and would hurt the interest of MSME sector. He also alleged that Punjab is suffering on account of GST implementation and the Centre should have consulted stakeholders before amending the GST laws. Responding to Jakhar, Goyal said the government has held wide consultation with all stakeholders including Punjab and the changes are intended to help the small traders. He said the threshold for composition scheme is being raised from Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore and reverse charge mechanism has already been deferred to September 2019.
Under the composition scheme, traders and manufacturers pay GST at a flat rate of 1 per cent and file returns quarterly. Currently, over 17 lakh businesses have registered for the composition scheme as against over 1.10 crore registered under GST. He said the simplified GST returns forms - Sahaj and Sugam - will be introduced to bring about ease of doing business. The amendments are aimed at addressing the difficulties being faced by the taxpayers, especially MSMEs in filing returns and payment of taxes. "The proposed new return filing system envisages quarterly filing of return and tax payment for small taxpayers along with minimum paper work," he said. The amendments will allow employers to claim input tax credit on facilities like food, transport and insurance provided to employees.
It also provides for separate registration of companies having different business verticals, cancellation of registration and issuance of consolidated debit/credit notes covering multiple invoices. As per the amendments, e-commerce companies will not have to seek registration under GST provided their annual turnover is less than Rs 20 lakh and are not required to collect tax at source under section 52.