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No tax on food items, contraceptives; mobile phone levy at 12% under GST

Agency | May 19, 2017 03:25 PM

New Delhi,  With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council deciding the tax rate on 1,211 goods on Thursday, there is cheer for the common man as 81 per cent of the goods are below 18 per cent, though people will have to shell out more even for small segment cars with additional cess levied on them.

Milk, eggs, salt, fresh vegetables, fruits, contraceptives, organic manure, earthen pots, coconut, prasadam supplied by religious places like temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras and dargahs have been exempted under GST.

Live animals, fruit juices and meat will call for a 12 per cent tax while fish has been put in the 5 per cent tax rate.

Butter and cheese have been placed under the 12 per cent tax rate and condensed milk under 18 per cent.

Beverages such as coffee (not instant), tea and groundnut, coal, hand pumps will attract 5 per cent tax under GST.

While jaggery is exempt under GST, cane sugar and beet sugar are in the 5 per cent tax slab. Bio gas plant, wind mills and kerosene lantern will also be under the 5 per cent tax rate.

Mobile phones, fountain pen ink, tooth powder, incense sticks, feeding bottles, Braille paper, children's colouring books, umbrellas, pencil sharpeners, tractors, bicycles, contact lenses, spectacle lenses, utensils, sports goods, fishing rods, combs, pencils and hand paintings have been placed under the 12 per cent tax rate under GST.

Bindi, vermilion, glass bangles, handlooms, hearing aids and handmade musical instruments have also been exempt under GST. A total of 7 per cent of items have been kept zero rated.

The goods which will fall under 18 per cent tax rate include helmets, LPG stoves, nuclear reactors, clocks, military weapons, electronic toys and plastic buttons.

The items which have been put in the highest tax slab of 28 per cent include aerated drinks, perfumes, after-shave lotions, deodarants, clothing of furskin, razor blades, cars, revolvers, pistols,

More than 200 products appear in the 28 per cent tax slab.

"Ideally, few products should have been put in 28 per cent bracket and 18 per cent should have been a miscellaneous schedule (to cover all balance products). The temptation of putting more products under 28 per cent bracket will certainly complicate the Indian GST structure," GST expert Pritam Mahure told IANS.

Compensation cess: 55 products will attract compensation cess.

The cess on small cars ranges from 1-3 per cent, 3 per cent on motorcycles with 350 cc engine, personal aircraft and yachts while mid-segment and large cars will attract a cess of 15 per cent.

All goods, other than pan masala containing tobacco 'gutka' will have to bear a cess of 89 per cent while tobacco and tobacco products will call for a cess in the range of 12.5-290 per cent. Cess of 5 per cent has been levied on cigarettes and 60 per cent on pan masala. Aerated drinks will attract a cess of 12 per cent.

Mahure says that it is expected that a few classification disputes may continue like whether groundnut chikki should be classified as 'sweetmeat' attracting 5 per cent GST rate or sugar confectionery attracting 18 per cent GST rate.

Now, the manufacturers/traders will have to quantify the impact of the GST rates on their product prices and update their tax masters/registers with these rates. This is a complex exercise for traders who are not very conversant with tariff codes and classification, he added.

The rate structure for the remaining goods -- bidi wrapper leaves, biscuits, bidis, textiles, footwear, natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, imitation jewellery, power driven agricultural, horticultural, forestry, poultry keeping or bee-keeping machinery and harvesting machinery is expected to be decided on Friday in the GST Council's meeting on the second day in Srinagar.

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