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Impact of COVID-19 and Ways of Recovery

Quite similar to what was shown in the 2011 Hollywood movie Contagion, the Coronavirus has not only caused more than a million deaths, but it has also created abrupt changes in the daily lives of people within a very short time, while adversely affecting global economy and causing widespread panic….

In such a dismal scenario it is imperative that the Government of India takes notice and plays a crucial role in helping the tourism sector to revive itself. Perhaps it can start by bringing in some immediate measures that would reduce the rate of Goods and Services Tax (GST), such as, consider the lowering of GST rates on room tariffs between INR 1000 to INR 7500 for a specific period of time, and lowering the GST 18% on commission earned by tour operators and travel agents for providing certain services. Besides these, the TCS or Tax collection at Source, which is made while making payments to various hotels and airlines, can also be considered for exemption under tax relief measures.

Extending the time for availing Input Tax credit (ITC) for the FY 2019-2020 to March 31st 2021 will help to reduce pressure on cash outflow. Along with this, especially because tourism industry is facing severe losses, reversal of ITC can also be suspended until March 31st 2021. Extending due dates for filing GST returns, providing immunity from tax payment under reverse charge mechanism, and allowing GST on cash or receipt basis until March 31st 2021 can also be considered to help the tourism industry tide over this crisis period.

Courtesy: Monidipa Dey

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