The GST council on Friday, in a bid to provide relief to the small business owners and traders throughout the country announced tax relaxations and measures to provide support to the core group of businessmen and improve the economy. Finance Minister Arun Jaitely announced businesses with annual turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore will be allowed to file quarterly income returns and pay tax instead of the monthly filings. Several traders who voiced their concerns over the hectic monthly command of filing taxes tiring can now pay once in a quarter which will save them the hassles. This move will be of big relief for the small traders and small business owners. Service providers with revenues less than 20 lakh per annum will not be liable to pay IGST.

Among 27 items which will be cheaper, eating out at AC restaurants will get easier for the middle class as the GST council cut the rates from 18 to 12 per cent. Tax on stationery items and diesel parts have been brought down from 18 to 12 per cent. Eatables including namkeen, Khakra and medicine will also face a 7 per cent cut from 12 to 5.

To address the liquidity problem faced by the exporters, Jaitely announced refund process to begin shortly. July refunds will be processed by 10th October while for August it will begin from 18th October.

“It’s almost three months since GST roll out..returns have been filed for first two months as well. So it was a time to deliberate on its effect on various trades and the transition,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a press briefing after the meeting of GST Council.

“As a long term solution, an e-wallet will be created for every exporter where a notional amount will be given in advance…the refund will be offset later against that amount,” Jaitley said. The e-wallet option will be launched by 1st April, said the Finance Minister indicating the initiation of an e-wallet for the refund process to be smoother.

GST on jewellery and gems has been scrapped and the mandate use of PAN Card is also no more effective on purchase above Rs 50000. Providing more relief to the jewellery sellers, the meeting decided that the entities with revenue over Rs 2 crore annually will not be covered under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA)