Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Who will benefit from the tax cut on sanitary napkins?

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong
Lindsey Cook | 23 July, 2018, 10:54

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, on Saturday, exempted sanitary napkins from GST and reduced the rates on over 50 items including refrigerators, washing machines and small televisions, which would now be taxed at 18 per cent, down from the current 28 per cent.

Sanitary napkins were taxed 12 percent tax under the one-year-old GST regime, which attracted serious criticism from various quarters. "Rakhis have been exempted from GST, tax on ethanol has been cut to 5 per cent, small handicrafts have been exempted", Goyal said. He said, lithium-ion batteries, vacuum cleaners, food grinders, mixers, storage water heaters, hair dryers, hand dryers, paint, varnishes, water cooler, milk cooler, ice cream coolers, perfumes, toilet sprays and toilet preparation have been brought to 18 from 28 per cent slab. "By imposing 12% GST on sanitary napkins, the government has tried to make a mockery of women", said Pooja Singh, Secretary of the NGO.

The GST Council on Saturday approved the new return formats and associated changes in law - a move that will simplify the tax filing process. Now, there is much to be said about why MNCs dominate the sanitary pad market, the environmental costs of sanitary napkins and so on. He said, 100 items will be impacted by today's decision. They will have to, however, pay taxes monthly. To counteract this double taxation, the government refunds the entire tax paid on the input - meaning the raw materials - as long as the producer has paid the output tax.

So far, businesses with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore were permitted to file returns quarterly. "With simplification, there will be compliance buoyancy and the overall assessment will show that the revenue impact is marginal", he said, adding the revenue foregone is for the good of consumers.

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The next GST Council meeting will be held on August 4.

Mr Goyal said, traders with turnover up to 5 crore rupees will deposit GST monthly but they have to file the returns quarterly.

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.

As per NDTV reports, lawmaker Sushmita Dev had launched a petition to demand a reduction or total removal of taxes on pads, citing that about 70 per cent of women in the country could not afford them. With the stabilisation of revenue, the rate on many items were gradually reduced.

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