48th GST Council Meeting: Tax On Online Gaming, Appellate Tribunal, Rate Revision To Be Discussed

The 48th GST Council meeting, which is scheduled to take place next week on December 17, is going to be an important one in a way that it may be the last meeting before the Union Budget 2023. People aware of the developments said the Council is expected to discuss reports regarding GST levy on online gaming and the setting up of an Appellate Tribunal, apart from tax rate changes on various items.

Once set up, the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) will ensure that businesses can approach the Tribunal instead of the high court for many matters.

The Council, which is headed by the Union finance minister and comprises representatives of all states and UTs, is going to conduct its 48th meeting next week (December 17) via videoconferencing.

Abhishek Jain, partner (indirect tax) at KPMG, said two GoM reports — GST levy on online gaming and setting up of appellate tribunal — are expected to be key discussion points in the upcoming GST Council meeting.

“Apart from this, as this meeting may be the last meeting prior to Union Budget 2023, the Council may also discuss certain tax rate changes and system reforms for ease of compliance. Further, the topic of GST rate rationalisation is also likely to be picked up in the discussions,” Jain added.

In the previous 47th meeting on June 28 and 29, the GST Council had decided to accept the group of ministers’ interim reports on the correction of duty inversion and exemption. Pre-packaged and pre-labelled retail packs, including curd, lassi and butter milk, were also brought under GST.

However, the Council gave GoM on GST levy on casinos, online gaming and horse racing more time to study and submit the report. It also did not decided on the matter related to GST on cryptocurrency in the previous meeting in June.

An expert said these matters can be discussed in the upcoming meeting apart from the rate rationalisation report of the GoM, which will rejig the tax rates in the indirect tax regime.

M S Mani, partner at Deloitte India, said “The meeting is expected to affirm the constitution of the GSTAT (Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal), which would ensure that businesses can approach the Tribunal instead of the High Court for many matters. It is also necessary to settle the classification and valuation issues faced by online gaming players by discussing the report of the GoM which was constituted to provide recommendations on the same.”

The Group of Ministers (GoM) on online gaming, headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, held its final meeting on the issue recently and is understood to have recommended a GST levy of 28 per cent on online gaming, irrespective of whether it is a game of skill or chance.

The Union Budget 2023-24 is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament on February 1, 2023.

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