NEW DELHI - India will turn into one market at the stroke of mid-night between June 30 and July 1, with the rollout of the unified GST along with liberal tax filings rules for first two months to tide over any teething issues.
Rejecting demands for deferment of the biggest tax reform since Independence, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assured the nation that the IT network backbone has been adequately tested and systems are in place for implementation of the goods and services tax.
Jaitley said: "We don't have the luxury of time to defer GST implementation... The official launch of the GST will take place on the midnight of June 30 and July 1." The GST Council, which met here for the 17th time, also decided to fix the tax rate for AC hotels at 18 % where the billed amount is up to Rs 7,500. Earlier, it had proposed to levy 28 % on hotel bills exceeding Rs 5,000. Giving details, Jaitley said this would mean that now 18 % GST will be levied on bills of Rs 2,500-7,500.
The Council also decided to tax lotteries in two segments -- with state-run ones attracting 12 % GST and the state-authorised but run by private entities at 28 %.
As per the revised return filing timeline decided by the Council, for July, the sale returns will have to be filed by September 5 instead of August 10. Companies will have to file sale invoice for August with the GST Network by September 20 instead of September 10 earlier.