India’s anti-profiteering agency has intensified efforts to ensure that recent cuts in goods and services tax (GST) rates on a number of items are being passed on to buyers. The GST Council had recommended a reduction in tax rates on a range of goods last month.
The National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAPA) wrote to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on August 7 urging it to ask field officials to keep “watchful supervision” on prices.
At its last meeting on July 23, the GST Council cut rates on paints, washing machines, TVs below a certain size and refrigerators among other goods to 18% from 28%.
NAPA said tax commissioners can look out for profiteering under Rule 128 of central GST and suo moto take up cases if cuts are not passed on. “Our mandate is to not monitor prices. We just want to ensure that the benefit of the prices are passed on to the consumer,” a senior NAPA official said.
The idea, the official explained, is to find a balance between ease of doing business and consumer protection. This should be part of the agenda of GST officials in the field, he said.
CBIC will now issue directions to commissioners to look at pricing and file complaints. The issue can be taken up by the GST Council so that state government officials also follow up on the matter.
Tax experts said businesses need to have their paperwork in order. “Businesses should ensure that they have appropriate documentation to demonstrate that they have passed on the benefits of rate cuts to consumers as the onus of proving the same is on business” said MS Mani, partner, Deloitte India.