New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced that the government has waived off the IGST imposed on the import of COVID-19 related relief items till August 31. The Finance Minister, after the 43rd GST Council meeting, also said that in wake of the rising Black Fungus cases in the country, the government has decided to include Amphotericin B in the exemptions list.

"Issues of COVID-related equipment was one of the items on the agenda that had a very detailed discussion. Many issues were raised and discussed. The Council has decided to exempt the import of relief items till 31st August 2021", FM Nirmala Sitharaman after 43rd GST Council meet said, adding that "due to rising cases of black fungus, Amphotericin B has also been included in the exemptions list". 

However, the Finance Minister said that the taxes on COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies will remain unchanged and a decision will be taken on it by June 8. Sitharaman said that a group of ministers will deliberate on tax structure on the vaccine and medical supplies. Currently, vaccines attract 5 per cent GST.

"I've decided & announced in Council that a Group of Ministers quickly formed who will submit their report within 10 days - on or before 8th June, so that if there are any further reductions which need to be done will be done, in the sense, that rates will be decided by them", Sitharaman said. 

Also, the panel decided that the Centre will borrow Rs 1.58 lakh crore and pass it on to the states to make up for the shortfall in their revenues from the implementation of the GST. A special session of the Council will be held soon to consider extending the five-year GST shortfall compensation period to states beyond 2022.

Meanwhile, the panel provided relief to small GST taxpayers through an amnesty scheme for late return filers. "To provide relief to small taxpayers, an amnesty scheme has been recommended for reducing the late fee, she said. This is likely to benefit around 89% of those who pay GST. Taxpayers can file pending returns and avail of benefits of the scheme with reduced late fee", Sitharaman said. 

Sitharaman further informed that the late fee has also been rationalised in order to provide relief to the small taxpayers which will come into effect for future tax periods. 

"Late fees have also been rationalised. The rationalised late fee and the decision to reduce the maximum amount of late fee for small taxpayers will come into effect for future tax periods. This will provide a long term relief to small taxpayers", Sitharaman added.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan