GST rates might witness major restructuring. Govt issues annual deadline for ecommerce firms to submit an audit report. US added the largest number of jobs for 10 months in November, unemployment returns to a half-century low. Trump asks World Bank to stop lending to China. Elon Musk found not liable in ‘pedo guy’ defamation trial.
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Change is the Only Constant: Nearly two and a half years after its implementation, GST rates are set to witness a major restructuring in a bid to shore up muted collections and increase revenue.
The GST council is expected to discuss raising the base slab from 5% to 9-10%, while doing away with the 12% rate and moving 243 items in this segment to the 18% band. In addition to this, several items currently exempted from tax - from treatment in “expensive” private hospitals to hotel accommodation under INR1,000 and high-value company home leases may also be brought under the ambit of GST.
These changes are expected to generate close to INR1L cr of additional revenue for the government. ET Policy
Your Opinion Matters: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has invited those who are interested in providing suggestions on simplifying and easing the GST filing process.
"A gentle reminder: Today, 7 December, all GST offices will be ready to receive suggestions on simplifying/easing the filing process. Invite those interested in providing suggestions to kindly approach the nearest office," Sitharaman tweeted. Livemint
Extra Crunch: In an attempt to promote digital transactions, the RBI has announced that round-the-clock transactions will be allowed under the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) system from December 16. The 24X7 NEFT system will be available on all days of the year, including holidays, it added. Financial Express
Bound By Law: The government has issued new rules that make it compulsory for e-commerce companies with foreign investments to submit an audit report every year, showing that they have been in compliance with the FDI rules for the sector.
According to the notification by the Finance Ministry, e-commerce companies have to obtain statutory auditor report by September-end for the preceding financial year. The Hindu
Last year, the government had released changes to the FDI rules governing the e-commerce sector, which aimed to strike down at predatory pricing and deep discounts in order to provide a level-playing field for all.
In Other News: The RBI has revised its existing guidelines for asset reconstruction companies (ARCs), restricting them from buying financial assets from their sponsor firms and lenders on a bilateral basis. The asset reconstruction companies have also been barred from buying loans from a bank or financial institution which is either a lender to the ARC or a subscriber to its fund. However, the regulator has allowed the ARCs to participate in auctions of such assets. Bloomberg Quint
The US economy added the largest number of jobs for 10 months and unemployment returned to a half-century low in November, confounding economists' expectations of a slowdown and adding fuel to the economic expansion.
As per official data, employers added 266,000 jobs last month - the fastest pace since 312,000 in January on the back of striking GM workers returning to work and a big rise in healthcare posts. Jobless rate dipped to 3.5%, matching September as the lowest level since 1969, the Labor Department said Friday. Wages also advanced, up 3.1% from a year earlier. BBC
Bonus Read: US tax revenue as a proportion of GDP dropped the most out of any country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2018, according to a report released Thursday. US taxes at all levels of government fell to 24.3% of GDP in 2018, down from 26.8% a year earlier and 25.9% in 2016 and this is largely due to the $1.5tr GOP tax cut President Donald Trump signed into law in 2017.
The tax cuts dramatically altered the US tax landscape for the first time in decades by permanently slashing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, temporarily cutting individual tax rates and limiting state and local tax deductions, among other changes. Read this WSJ article for the full scoop.
Going Places: Less than a year after Amazon ditched a plan to create a second head office in New York City, the ecommerce giant has signed a new lease for 335,000 square feet on Manhattan’s west side in the new Hudson Yards neighborhood where it will have more than 1,500 employees.
FYI: Amazon's plan for a second headquarter was scrapped by the company after local activists and politicians, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, strongly objected to plans by the city and New York State to grant Amazon some $3bn in tax breaks and other financial incentives.
The news comes on the heels of reports that Facebook is in talks to lease 700,000 square feet in a neighborhood nearby. WSJ
In Other News: The Trump administration is reportedly considering putting some of Amazon.com Inc’s overseas websites on a list of global marketplaces known for counterfeit goods.
The action would be taken by the US Trade Representative’s Office, which publishes an annual list of “Notorious Markets” that identifies online and physical marketplaces believed to sell or facilitate the sale of counterfeit goods and pirated content. Reuters
Please Don't Help: US President Donald Trump on Friday called for the World Bank to stop loaning money to China, one day after the institution adopted a lending plan to Beijing despite Washington’s objections.
The World Bank on Thursday adopted a plan to aid China with $1 billion to $1.5 billion in low-interest loans annually through June 2025.
“Why is the World Bank loaning money to China? Can this be possible? China has plenty of money, and if they don’t, they create it. STOP!” Trump tweeted. The Guardian
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk emerged victorious on Friday from a defamation trial over his 2018 tweets, in which he called a British diver Vernon Unsworth who took part in the 2018 rescue operation that freed 12 boys and a soccer coach trapped inside a cave in Thailand a "pedo guy" as a federal court jury rejected the $190 million claim brought against him by Unsworth. CNBC
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