GST Council finalises four tax rates for services

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Phone bills also could go up once GST comes into force.

GST rate for gold and precious metals will be taken up at the next meeting of the Council on June 3. Daily-use items like sugar, tea, coffee (barring instant coffee), edible oil and life-saving drugs will attract the lowest tax rate of 5 per cent, nearly the same as current incidence. The Tripura government held a meeting on GST with all legislators on May 12 and a workshop for the media would be held in Agartala on May 20.

"The net effect of Goods and Services Tax will not be inflationary", Jaitley told reporters after a meeting of the GST Council in Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state. With entertainment tax being subsumed in the GST, prices of movie tickets are expected to come down. Luxury cars will attract 28 per cent GST plus a cess of 15 per cent. Currently, the tax is levied on cars based on size and engine capacity.

Jaitley said there would be a 5 per cent tax on carriage of goods by rail, road and air transport services because their main input is petroleum. Till now both the staples invited taxes in different states between 1 and 5 per cent. Milk has been added to the exempted category though in states like UP it was not taxed.

"Rates have been finalised for the rest", he said. After GST, the item will attract a GST rate of 5%. The rate for services will be decided on May 18.

Travelling on metro, local train and religious travel including Hajj pilgrimage will all continue to be exempt from GST, Revenue Secretary Hashmukh Adhia said.

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Basic food items like cereals, eggs and meat will attract zero tax while processed food items will be charged between 12 and 28 percent.

"Rates have been finalised for the rest", he said, adding GST for packaged food items is to be finalised later.

While automakers of small cars will have something to worry about, luxury auto makers hope to see positive results with the implementation of GST which puts a fixed slab of 28% even on large luxury vehicles and SUVs. Cars and motorcycles are likely to get dearer. petrol cars will face 28 per cent plus 1 per cent cess, and diesel small cars 28 per cent tax plus 3 per cent cess.

"Telecom industry hails GST as an iconic reform but we are disappointed with the 18 per cent rate".

GST for hotels with tariff above Rs 5,000 will be 28 per cent.

Other generally used items such as soaps, toothpaste, and hair oil will be attracting a levy of 18% rather than the present rate of 22-24%. The exempted list has 229 items at the central level and 99 in the states.

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