Feminine hygiene now tax-free in India; sanitary napkins out of GST net

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Sanitary napkins were earlier under the 12 percent tax slab.

Unlike cement, sanitary napkins, which have been exempt from GST, are not intermediate products. "Tax rates on white goods, including small television (about 27 inch), refrigerators, washing machines, water coolers, vacuum cleaner, mixer, juicer, etc. have been reduced". "It has also been decided that the GST Council will rise above revenue consideration and focus more on job creation and economic growth", said Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, as reported by The Indian Express.

Apart from the change in taxes on commodities, Piyush Goyal announced a number of measures to simplify tax filing. Experts said going forward as the revenues stabilise, the Council may look at further rationalisation of the 28% slab, to restrict the highest tax slab to super luxury and sin goods.

As per NDTV reports, lawmaker Sushmita Dev had launched a petition to demand a reduction or total removal of taxes on pads, citing that about 70 per cent of women in the country could not afford them.

One of those days when a news brings tears of joy as a cause close to ur heart gets fulfilled.Thank you, #GSTCouncil, for understanding the need for menstrual hygiene & exempting sanitary pads from tax.

The tax rate on ethanol blended with petrol, footwear costing up to 1,000 rupees and fertiliser grade phosphoric acid has been cut to from 12 to 5 percent, Goyal said.

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The Council has also approved quarterly filing of return for the small taxpayers having turnover below Rs 5 crore.

Among other changes, small businesses with sales of up to Rs 5 crores has been allowed to file tax returns on a quarterly basis but they will have to pay GST tax monthly.

The official, however, said that the revenue loss would be only notional as increased consumption and compliance would lead to more revenues to the exchequer.

Australia also continues to apply a tax while Ireland and Kenya are among the nations to have abolished taxes on sanitary products. Between Rs 2,500 to below Rs 7,500 GST is levied at 18 per cent and that of Rs 1,000 and below Rs 2,500 it is 12 per cent.

Union minister Smriti Irani lauded the council for exempting sanitary napkin from the GST. The next meeting of the Council is slated on August 4, which will discuss issues relating to the MSME sector as well as ways to incentivise digital transaction via Rupay cards and BHIM app. With the stabilisation of revenue, the rate on many items were gradually reduced.

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