Next GST Council meet may discuss bringing real estate into GST ambit: Jaitley

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A day after the passage of Goods and Services Tax (GST), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday promised that the real estate sector, the biggest repository of black money, will be brought into its ambit soon.

“In the next GST Council meeting, we will take up the issue of bringing real estate sector under GST,” Jaitley told a private TV channel.

He said he was personally in favour of bringing real estate under GST. The Delhi government too supported the move, but some other states opposed it.

“Some states are however ready. The chief economic adviser has given several presentations on the significance of bringing the sector in GST fold. We will go ahead,” he said.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had in March written a letter to Jaitley saying the measure will bring transparency and control hoarding of land and property.

Experts say by keeping real estate out of GST, the government has kept a big space open for black money to flourish.

To a question on whether the GST Council will also consider converging certain tax slabs as there were too many at present, Jaitley said sometime in the future the two standard rates of 12% and 18% could converge in to one. He said if the tax payers’ base increases, the rates can come down.

He did not rule out the possibility of 28% tax slab being converged into 18% in the future.

Replying to criticism that multiple tax rates under GST, Jaitley said, “ we could have fixed a standard of 15% for all goods but it was necessary to bring down prices of food items for poor people”.

Jaitley said that revenues earned through indirect taxes will be used in reducing the income tax burden on the salaried class.


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