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    Anti-profiteering: Filing complaints against firms not an easy task

    Synopsis

    Though Centre has notified a filing format, tax experts say end consumers may find it difficult to navigate & fill up the mandatory fields.

    Format seeks info on input tax credit, HSN code & companies GSTIN with self-attested copies of evidence.
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    NEW DELHI: Are you upset over your favourite restaurant raising prices after reduction in goods and services tax (GST) or some retailer continuing to charge pre-GST rates or your supplier refusing to pass on the benefits of the new tax regime? Now you can file a formal anti-profiteering complaint.

    The government has notified a format for filing such complaints. But, according to experts, the common man may find the format difficult to navigate.

    The format requires details on input tax credit, Harmonised System of Nomenclature code and GSTIN of a company along with self-attested copies of every documentary evidence such as proof of identity, invoice and price, and a declaration by the complainant that all information furnished is true and that due diligence has been exercised in submitting such information. This comes close on the heels of the government setting up the National Anti-Profiteering Authority, with former additional secretary BN Sharma at the helm.

    The anti-profiteering structure has a three-tiered framework, with state-level screening committees and a standing committee at the national level forming the first level of examination of complaints.

    If these committees find a prima facie case after preliminary examination, the matter will be referred to the Director General of Safeguards for a detailed investigation.

    The director general will investigate the company’s balance sheet and the allegations levelled. The investigation report will then go to the National Anti-Profiteering Authority for the final decision.

    As per the rules, an application can be filed by any interested person including GST authorities. The government had repeatedly said that the anti-profiteering provisions are meant to act as a deterrence.

    “The timing of coming out with the format is important given the recent GST rate cuts and consequent controversies... Given the granularity of information needed, it may be very difficult for the end consumers to file it,” said Pratik Jain, indirect tax leader, PwC. “Perhaps a simpler form is needed for a common man to have an effective mechanism.”

    MS Mani, senior director, indirect taxes at Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP said: “The format could work well if it is to be completed by tax officials. Others will find it difficult to fill up the mandatory fields marked in the form. Some details in the form would be available only with the progress of the investigation.”

    Experts also said that this would discourage frivolous complaints. “The application form for filing the anti-profiteering request by a customer is elaborate. While this may deter a lot of consumers given the lack of information they may have, it will also discourage frivolous complains against suppliers of goods and services,” said Bipin Sapra, partner, EY.

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    3 Comments on this Story

    shabbir challawala1050 days ago
    Govt.seems to be fully unaware & ignorant of multiple such Fall-out of Hasty GST implimentation without Pro-active methodology to safeguard interest of people at large from being "fleeced''!! so far govt.is interested in ''Squeezing'' Taxpayers to fill up their coffers for people other than exchequers.
    Asheesh Dhupper1050 days ago
    They are making fool of the citizens...Rules are they..difficult to implement..this is a Bania sarkaar .. favoring Banias..
    akash76 y1050 days ago
    where ever jaitley is present, there is headaches.
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