No GST on black fungus medicines, 5% tax on vaccines to stay: Complete list of tax cuts on COVID essentials

·4 min read

The GST Council Saturday recommended bringing down tax rates on COVID-related essentials such as oxygen concentrators, testing kits, masks and gloves to five percent while recommending a 'zero GST' on the black fungus drug Amphotericin and the immunosuppressive drug Tocilizumab.

The Council said that tax cuts will remain in effect till 30 September, 2021, and can be extended further upon nearing the deadline.

In its 44th meeting on Saturday, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, approved all recommendations of the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up to deliberate tax relief on COVID-19 essentials.

However, while most of the medicinal supplies got a tax cut, the Council has retained the 5 percent GST on COVID-19 vaccines.

After the GST Council's previous meeting on 28 May, a GoM was constituted to recommend tax rates on COVID-19 essentials, including PPE kits, masks and vaccines, to the GST Council.

GST rate cuts on COVID-19 medicines:

The finance minister added that GST rates have been decided for four categories of products - medicines, oxygen, oxygen-generation equipment, testing kits and other machines and other COVID-19 related relief material.

No tax will be levied on Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B, the medicines used to treat black fungus, a fungal disease that affects coronavirus patients.

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The Council approved rate reduction for anti-coagulants like heparin as well as Remdesivir - a drug for treating COVID-19, from 12 percent to five percent.

Tax cuts on oxygen concentrators also slashed

The Council slashed the tax rate from 12 percent to 5 percent on medical grade oxygen, BiPaP machines, oxygen concentrators, ventilators, pulse oximeter. GST on ambulances has been reduced to 12 percent from the current 28 percent.

Category

Item

Present GST Rate

Recommended GST Rate

COVID-19 vaccine

All vaccines

5%%

5%

Medicines

Tocilizumab

5%

Nil

Amphotericin B

5%

Nil

Anti-Coagulants like Heparin

12%

5%

Remdesivir

12%

5%

Any other drug recommended by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Dept. of Pharma (DoP) for Covid treatment

Applicable Rate

5%

Oxygen, Oxygen generation equipment and related medical devices

Medical Grade Oxygen

12%

5%

Oxygen Concentrator/ Generator, including personal imports thereof

12%

5%

Ventilators

12%

5%

Ventilator masks / canula / helmet

12%

5%

BiPAP Machine

12%

5%

High flow nasal canula (HFNC) device

12%

5%

Testing Kits and Machines

Covid Testing Kits

12%

5%

Specified Inflammatory Diagnostic Kits, namely D-Dimer, IL-6, Ferritin and LDH

12%

5%

Other Covid-19 related relief material

Pulse Oximeters, incl personal imports thereof

12%

5%

Hand Sanitizer

18%

5%

Temperature check equipment

18%

5%

Gas/Electric/other furnaces for crematorium, including their installation, etc.

18%

5%

Ambulances

28%

12%

"Today's meeting was a single-agenda meeting on the Group of Ministers which was constituted in the last GST Council meeting to come up with recommendations on tax relief for COVID-19 essentials," said the finance minister.

"Five percent GST on vaccines will stay. The Centre will buy the 75 percent vaccine as announced and will pay its GST too," she added.

"GST on electric furnaces and temperature checking equipment brought down to 5 percent and on ambulances to 12 percent. These rates will be valid till September as against August end recommended by the GoM," said Sitharaman on the outcome of 44th GST Council meet.

The GST Council said that the tax rate on any other drug recommended by the health ministry and Department of Pharma (DoP) for treating COVID-19 is reduced from 12 per cent to five per cent.

The 43rd GST council meeting on 28 May was conducted after a gap of almost eight months. The earlier one - 42nd GST Council meeting, was held last year, on 5 October, 2020.

With inputs from agencies

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