The GST council in its 50th meeting decided to reduce tax rates on the cancer drug Dinutuximab and Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) used in the treatment of rare diseases and slashed the GST rates on food and beverages served at cinema halls. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 50th meeting of the GST Council at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today.

After the meeting, West Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, as per Mint, told reporters that the Council has decided to tax online gaming, casinos, and horse racing at 28 per cent on the full face value of bets. She also said that the Council decided to reduce the GST on food and beverages which are served at cinema halls.

Moreover, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Maharashtra forest cultural and fisheries minister, reportedly told reporters that the council also decided to do away with the distinction between games of skill and chance. This means that all online games, regardless of whether they are skill-based or chance-based, will be taxed at the same rate.

According to West Bengal FM, the GST Council has approved the exemption of GST on the import of cancer drug Dinutuximab and Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) used in the treatment of rare diseases. Currently, individual imports of the cancer medication Dinutuximab (Qarziba) for personal use are subject to a 12 per cent IGST.

The council has also approved the reduction of GST on food and beverages served at cinema halls from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.

However, if the sale of a cinema ticket is combined with the sale of eatables such as popcorn or cold drinks, the entire supply should be handled as a composite supply and taxed at the relevant rate of the principal supply, which in this case is the cinema ticket.

Currently, movie tickets costing less than $100 are taxed at 12 per cent, while those costing more than $100 are taxed at 18 per cent.

The new GST rates on online gaming and food and beverages served at cinema halls will come into effect from July 18, 2023, as per the report.

The council has also approved the setting up of appellate tribunals to hear appeals against GST-related decisions.

The government has recently issued a notification enabling the exchange of information between the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) to aid in investigations. The notification specifically pertains to the sharing of information between ED and GSTN under section 66(1)(iii) of PMLA.

Several finance ministers raise the need for discussions before finalising the decision to include GSTN under the PMLA. The issue was raised by finance ministers from Delhi, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan.