GST Council meet concludes, roll out deadline of April 1, 2017 seems improbable

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Meanwhile, Delhi’s Finance Minister too agreed with FM Jaitley’s statement and said that rolling the GST bill by the designated deadline of April 1 was very unlikely. (PTI)

The Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council Meeting ended on Tuesday evening following which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the media that it was not possible to meet April 1, 2017, roll out deadline. Meanwhile, Delhi’s Finance Minister too agreed with FM Jaitley’s statement and said that rolling the GST bill by the designated deadline of April 1 was very unlikely. Gujarat’s Finance Minister Nitinbhai Patel, meanwhile said that he saw the possibility of the GST bill rolling out by September 1, 2017. It was also reported that the finance ministers of the states were scheduled to meet Union Finance Minister on January 4, 2017, for pre-budget talks. It was further reported that the dual-control issue was not discussed at the meeting on Tuesday. However, it is expected to be raised along with the roll out date on the 4th of January.

Earlier in December, following a GST council meet, when asked whether the Finance Minister was still sticking to the self-imposed April 1, 2017 deadline for GST rollout, Arun Jaitley said, “Our effort will do it as quickly as possible,” but added that he wouldn’t want to “hasten the process”, as discussions were underway. Chances are that the GST, a comprehensive destination-based tax on value addition, would be ushered in in July, analysts felt.

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Earlier, PwC India Executive Director Sumit Lunker had told PTI that the April 1 rollout deadline seems challenging, as the CGST and IGST laws could be passed only in the Budget Session in early February. Thereafter, states would have to pass the SGST law in their assemblies. After the law was passed, the industry would need a bare minimum of 3-4 months time to be ready for the new tax regime, especially the IT sector. Most IT companies would come out with their patches and updates after the final law is crystallised. July 1 appears to be a more feasible date for implementation, he had said. Meanwhile, Arun Jaitley had said that certain “turf issues” still remained to be sorted out before GST rollout and the new indirect tax regime could be implemented anytime between April 1 and September 16, 2017.