GST Council likely to deliberate on taxation of online gaming, corporate guarantees

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New Delhi :-  the GST Council in its meeting on Saturday is likely to deliberate on a host of issues, including taxation of online gaming and corporate guarantees on related party services, besides levy of tax on spectrum fees paid by telcos, sources said.

The 53rd meeting of the GST Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and comprising her state counterparts, is also likely to discuss the progress of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on finalising the report on Goods and Service Tax (GST) rate rationalisation.

This would be be first meeting of the GST Council after a gap of eight months. The 52nd GST Council meeting was held on October 7, 2023.

With regard to the online gaming sector, the GST Council is likely to review the decision to levy 28 per cent GST on full value of bets for online gaming companies, which came into effect from October 1, 2023.

In its meetings in July and August, the GST Council had approved amendments to the law to include online gaming, casinos and horse racing as taxable actionable claims, and clarified that such supplies would attract 28 per cent tax on full bet value.

At that time it was said a review of the implementation would be carried out after six months.

The GST Council is likely to review the decision to levy 28 per cent GST on full value of bets for online gaming companies that came into effect from October 1, 2023.

Following the Council decision, over 70 show cause notices have been issued to online gaming companies for alleged GST evasion of over Rs 1.12 lakh crore during financial years 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Many of them have gone to court against the notices and the cases are pending.

Sources said the GST Council is likely to discuss the legality of the show cause notices served on online gaming companies and the way forward.

With regard to corporate guarantee, the GST Council is also likely to review its last meeting decision to levy 18 per cent GST on guarantees provided by corporates to their subsidiaries.

The CBIC circular on corporate guarantee was stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and a review on the legal aspect of the circular is likely to be taken up at the Council meeting on Saturday.

Sources said the GST Council is likely to clarify that telecom companies will have to pay GST, along with the instalments paid towards spectrum charges.

The clarification should end confusion among field formation regarding the method for collection of GST in the spectrum auction process.

The GST rate rationalisation panel, which was mandated to suggest required rate rationalisation and correction of inverted duty structure with an objective of simplifying the rate structure, reviewing the GST exemption list and enhancing GST revenues, is yet to meet under the chairmansip of Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna.

In October last year, Khanna was named the convenor of the seven-member rate rationalisation panel.

Under its previous convenor and former Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, the GoM had submitted an interim report to the GST Council in June 2022, proposing changes in tax rates for some goods and services to rationalise the levy.

Currently, the GST regime has five broad tax slabs of zero, 5, 12, 18, and 28 per cent. A cess is levied over and above the highest 28 per cent rate on luxury and demerit goods.




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