You can take action against profiteers

Complain about sellers not passing on the GST benefit to the anti-profiteering body

Angry with the shopowner for not passing on the tax reduction benefits after GST? Sometimes, it’s not so much about losing a few extra bucks to the seller; the fact that we may not be able to do much about this injustice irks us more. But it’s not that there is no solution to this problem. You can complain about such sellers to the anti-profiteering body established under GST.

Make an appeal

As per the GST law, any benefit accrued due to GST by way of tax reduction or input tax credit (ITC) availability has to be passed on to the final consumer by the businessmen. Tax reduction can be seen in two cases. One, when the post-GST rate is lower than the pre-GST rate; and two, when the revised GST rate is lower than the initial GST rate.

If your seller of goods or services is not passing on the benefits, you can use the application form available in the CBEC’s (Central Board of Excise and Customs) website, www.cbec.gov.in under ‘MyGST’ to file a complaint. The application form has to be sent to the standing committee formed for this purpose by post. In the case of local issues, which will typically be complaints against a seller not having pan-India presence, the application is to be sent to the state level screening committee formed in that particular state.

To fill up the application, data such as price charged and taxes claimed before and after tax reduction are also required. All these details can be obtained from the bills issued by the seller. The instruction form attached to the application can be referred to for any clarifications. The application is to be attached with all the required documents specified in the application, such as invoices of the transactions before and after tax reduction, your proof of identity and the seller’s price list. Please note that a separate application is to be made if you wish to complain on more than one product or service. Sometimes, you might be requested to submit additional details. And in exceptional cases, you would also be summoned for attendance, if required.

If your application is for non-passage of the input tax credit benefit, in addition to the above details, comprehensive working of the benefits accrued by the company due to ITC shall also be furnished.

Timeline

The standing committee will examine the evidence provided within two months from the date of receipt of application. In case of applications sent to the screening committee, it will be forwarded along with recommendations to the standing committee.

If the standing committee finds the application reasonable, it will be sent to the Director General (DG) of Safeguards for detailed investigation. The DG issues notice containing the allegations made by you to the seller. The seller will also be given reasonable opportunity to explain why the benefits were not passed on. After the investigation, a report will be furnished to the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) within three months of receipt of reference from the standing committee. The period might be extended for not more than another three months depending on the criticality of the case.

Within the next three months, the authority will determine whether the seller passed on the benefits of tax reduction and input tax credit. Therefore, your application will be addressed within 11 months from the date of complaint.

Refund

In case the authority determines that the benefit has not been transferred to the consumer, it may order the seller to refund the money equivalent to the amount of benefit not passed on. The seller is also liable to pay interest on such amount at the rate of 18 per cent from the date of collection of higher amount till the date of refund. If the recipient is not identifiable, the amount will be deposited to the welfare fund. The authority may also slap the seller with penalty and in worst case, cancel the GST registration of the supplier.

This National Anti-Profiteering Authority will be in existence only for two years from the date of the chairman assuming the office, that is, till November 28, 2019. The idea behind the limited validity is that while profiteering issues may arise in the initial period of GST implementation, the situation is expected to normalise sooner than later.

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