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GOVERNMENT ENSURES POST GST REDUCTION OF PRICES - Draconian Powers in the Hands of Anti-Profiteering Authority
21 June, 2017 Ahmedabad :
GOVERNMENT ENSURES POST GST REDUCTION OF PRICES - Draconian Powers in the Hands of Anti-Profiteering Authority

Government ensures Post GST reduction of prices. On 18th June 2017, the GST council finalized the Anti-profiteering Rules 2017. As per the said rules where the Authority determines that a registered person has not passed on the benefit of reduction in rate of tax on the supply of goods or services or the benefit of input tax credit to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices, the Authority has been vested with powers to order cancellation of GST registration. Such draconian powers in the hands of Authority, if left unchecked, can lead to unforeseen issues in the GST regime.

The authority can also order reduction in prices or return to the recipient, an amount equivalent to the amount not passed on by way of commensurate reduction in prices along with interest at the rate of eighteen percent from the date of collection of higher amount till the date of return of such amount. They have also been given powers to recovery of the amount including interest not returned in case the eligible person does not claim return of the amount or is not identifiable, and depositing the same in the Consumer welfare Fund along with Imposition of penalty.

Every state will have a Screening committee, which will inquire into matters where complaints are received in case if prices are not reduced post GST. They will report the matter to a standing committee. A Standing Committee on recommendation if satisfied that there is a prima-facie evidence to show that the supplier has not passed on the benefit of reduction in rate of tax on the supply of goods or services or the benefit of input tax credit to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices, it shall refer the matter to Director General of Safeguards for a detailed investigation.

The Director General of Safeguards shall complete the investigation within a period of three months of receipt of reference from the Standing Committee, upon completion of the investigation, furnish to the Authority a report of its findings, along with the relevant records.

It will be interesting to see that as to whether there is actual reduction of prices post GST and if the consumer feels otherwise, what mechanism the government will have to ensure that the actual benefit is passed on to the consumer. In a Country as vast as ours, we may see enormous complaints in this regards and it will an uphill task for the state screening committee to filter the genuine complaints from the scrupulous ones and also those from the business rivals with a vested interest.

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Courtesy: From the desk of Monish Bhalla, Founder, www.servicetaxonline.com
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