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GST on gold: Government panel to check tax evasion; to meet importing agencies

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Group of Ministers (GoM) on the movement of gold and precious stones — a panel of six state finance ministers is looking to plug revenue leakage on gold. The issue of unchecked evasion of tax under the Goods and Services Tax was discussed during the first meeting of the GoM on Saturday, The Indian Express reported. The group has decided to call officials from MMTC and other gold importing agencies along with the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and Income Tax Department in the second meeting to discuss steps to be taken for the same.

Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi led GoM on IGST settlement also met Saturday. Delhi and Puducherry had raised concern around IGST settlement because it was given as per devolution formula. However, given the Union Territories are not covered under finance commission, they didn't get the IGST share. "Discussions were held on what would be the formula to restore it. Those would continue in the next meeting. Law department would also explain the legal position of the fund settlement," a state finance minister said.

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The GoM was formed in November 2019 to understand the feasibility of implementing e-way bill requirement for movement of gold and precious stones. Currently, they are exempted from the e-way bill. GoM is headed by Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac. Finance ministers of two states present during the Saturday's meeting said e-way bill generation for gold and precious stones likely have security concerns from traders since any such consignment would then be tracked. Also, states like Gujarat and West Bengal, as learnt, have said that e-way bill won't be practical because many gold traders transport jewellery on foot or through railways or bus and not necessarily trucks.

"Even a small stone could be worth lakhs of rupees. So, security concerns about e-way bill generation are there which need to be looked into. But more importantly, there was consensus that there is GST evasion on gold," a state finance minister said. As learnt, Kerala stressed on the gold evasion and said that before GST it earned Rs 600 crore from gold which has been reduced to Rs 300 crore post the GST rollout. "Pre-GST and post-GST revenue trend of gold and precious stones will now be analysed in the next meeting," the minister said.