Mumbai: The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the government to place the issue of levying Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) on oxygen concentrators before the GST council meeting to take place on Friday.
The Delhi High Court was hearing a matter where a company had dragged the government to court over IGST oxygen concentrators specifically imported for donation to state and central governments.
The issue of IGST on oxygen concentrators may already be addressed by the GST council on Friday. The council could look at doing away with the 12% IGST on oxygen concentrators imported by individuals in the upcoming GST council meeting, ET reported on May 25.
Currently imported oxygen concentrators attract 12% IGST. Many states have been pushing for doing away with the IGST on imported oxygen concentrators by individuals after recent court ruling.
Many states are set to push for doing away with IGST on imported oxygen concentrators– considered essential in saving lives amidst Coivid pandemic—in the upcoming GST council meeting on Friday, say insiders.
Some companies and individuals who are importing oxygen concentrators have approached Delhi and Bombay High Courts seeking a leeway from paying IGST. As many companies decided to import oxygen concentrators amidst the domestic shortage due to Covid pandemic in the country, they were faced with Integrated Goods and Services Tax and customs duty.
These companies claim that they are being penalised for doing charity in the time of emergency. Many of these companies have also reached out to their tax advisors and may also approach the courts in this regard within next week. Abhishek A Rastogi, partner at law firm Khaitan & Co, the counsel for the petitioner told the court that the imports happen through Indian Army and Indian Navy and that the goods are directly donated to the state government and hence there cannot be any apprehension of inappropriate usage of these goods.
The government has reduced the GST on oxygen concentrators. Oxygen concentrators that are gifted or imported by individuals for personal use attract 12% IGST which was recently lowered down from 28% by the government.
The government is adamant to not reduce the GST further irrespective of who imports it.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that exempting vaccines, Covid related drugs and oxygen concentrators from GST would actually raise their prices as domestic producers of these items would be unable to claim credit for taxes on input credit.
Even as the central government refuses to budge, many state governments are looking to find a middle way. Haryana for instance said that any Covid-19 related relief material including Oxygen concentrators imported will get a reimbursement in the state. This would mean that anyone importing oxygen concentrators or other vaccines for use in the state can approach the state government for recovering 12% IGST.
Currently GST paid is the purse cost for those importing it, even if it is for donating it to government agencies.