Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Feminine hygiene now tax-free in India; sanitary napkins out of GST net

Protesters demonstrate outside an Indian sales tax office in January demanding exclusion of sanitary napkins from the G Feminine hygiene now tax-free in India; sanitary napkins out of GST net
Russell Knight | 21 July, 2018, 21:41

The Goods and Services Tax Council has made a decision to exempt sanitary napkins from taxation, interim Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday after the 28th meeting of the council in New Delhi. A high GST rate on sanitary napkins had imposed a year ago had triggered howls of protest from consumer activist and women groups.

Among items on which GST was reduced include footwear, small televisions, water heater, electric ironing machines, refrigerators, lithium ion batteries, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, food appliances and ethanol and handicrafts. The Council also announced quarterly return-filing for businesses with an annual turnover threshold of upto Rs 5 crore, a move that will benefit 93 per cent of the registered GST taxpayers. So far, footwear up to Rs 500 attracted 5 percent GST, and those having retail sale price of over Rs 500 attracted 18 percent rate.

New tax rates will be effective from July 27, the minister added.

Taxes on handbags, jewellery boxes, wooden photo frames, stone art wear, ornamental frame mirrors, glass art ware, aluminum art ware and handmade carpets have been cut to 5 percent from 12 percent.

"I think the 28% tax slab should be done away with", said Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the finance portfolio.

► GST on washing machine reduced from 28% to 18%.

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On being asked about the revenue loss from these rate cuts, Goyal said that with simplification of processes, compliance will improve which will in turn boost revenue.

Return forms will be simplified into two formats, Sugaam and Sahaj, for the composite dealers and for B2B or B2C dealers.

The controversial reverse charge mechanism (RCM) has also been deferred until September 2019.

However, it often happened that hotels offered discounts and hence the actual transaction cost would be much lower than the declared cost, but tax would still be charged at the declared cost.

This would eliminate the need for toll points for transports and help monitor the goods and the route taken by the transport vehicles, enabling smooth transport of goods, Goyal said.

This is the fourth time since the roll out of the GST that the Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister and comprising state counterparts, has rationalised rates.

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