The 45th GST Council Meeting chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was the first in-person meeting of the GST Council in nearly two years. Every GST council meeting creates buzz, as many sectors and industries are looking at revisions in GST rates and other reliefs in the process.
Some of the top updates included an increase in GST rates on ores and concentrates of metals such as iron, copper, aluminium and zinc, which has increased from 5 per cent to 18 per cent and those on specified renewable energy devices and parts from 5 per cent to 12 per cent. While the increased rate may result in higher GST, since most of these products are essentially used for taxable supplies and B2B transactions, the increase in rate may be a pass through as it will be available as a credit in the supply chain.
The increase in rate may take care of the potential inverted duty structure, in some cases where the GST on the procurement side (for instance, GST rate (18%) being higher on mining) was higher than the GST on the final product (5%). In the 45th GST Council Meeting, the GST rate cuts on Covid essential items have also been extended until 31 December.
There was also a clarification for payment of interest in the case of ineligible input tax credit. It is clarified that interest may be levied only if ineligible tax credits have been availed and utilised, and not merely availed. Another relief for exporters, as clarified that where an actual amount of export duty is to be paid, restriction from claiming a refund will arise. Where there is no actual export duty to be paid, the exporters can claim a refund.