December 24, 2018 / 7:22 AM / 2 months ago

India finance minister on GST: future roadmap will be to work toward a single rate

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley attends a news conference sharing details about the recapitalisation of public sector banks in New Delhi, India, January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Saumya Khandelwal

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India is working toward a single national sales tax rate which could be a mid-point between 12 and 18 percent, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday, in an effort to simplify the tax structure.

The government set the range for the Goods and Service Tax from 28 percent to 5 percent on most items when the signature reform was introduced last year.

“Multiple slabs were fixed transiently in order to ensure the tax of no commodity goes up radically. This contained the inflation impact,” Jaitley wrote in his blog.

“A future road map could well be to work toward a single standard rate instead of two standard rates of 12 percent and 18 percent. It could be a rate at some mid-point between the two.”

He also said the country should look toward having slabs of zero, five percent and a standard rate for luxury and sin goods (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc.).

The government will also look at transferring cement into a lower tax slab as the next priority, he wrote.

Reporting by Swati Bhat and Aftab Ahmed; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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