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December, 07th 2017

A complainant will have to mention product price and the applicable tax rates both in the pre- and post-GST era in the anti-profiteering form

Consumers looking to file complaints against businesses for not passing on benefits of lower taxes in the goods and services tax (GST) regime will have to furnish details of the price of the product and the applicable tax rates both in the pre and post GST era.

As per the anti-profiteering form released by the government on Wednesday, the complainant will have to file the application form before the standing committee on anti-profiteering for pan-India complaints or before the state screening committees if the profiteering is of a local nature.

Businesses not passing on the benefit of reduced tax burden in the GST regime has been a major challenge for policymakers, which forced the federal indirect tax body, the GST Council, to withdraw the benefit of input tax credits for most restaurants and slash rates to 5% from 12% and 18% earlier applicable for non-AC and AC restaurants.

The complainant may find it difficult to specify the tax levy on products before the introduction of GST as taxes like excise are not visible upfront at the time of purchase.

“The complainant will have to fill all the details before the application is taken up by the committee. We have already been getting complaints that the reduction in the GST rates announced last month are not being passed on to the consumers,” said an official at the anti-profiteering authority.

The complainant will have to file separate forms for each good and service wherein there is a suspicion of profiteering.

Also, the complainant will have to back the complaint with documentary evidence like invoice, price list and detailed working sheet.

Last week, the government set up the anti-profiteering authority and announced B.N. Sharma, a senior revenue department official as its first chairman. The government constituted the authority to ensure that the benefits of the lower taxes in the new indirect tax regime are passed on to the consumers.

“The government has released the Anti-Profiteering Application Form (APAF - 1) using which a complaint can be filed by a consumer of goods or services before the anti-profiteering committee. Application form requires detailed information such as sale price (pre-GST and post GST), taxes (pre GST and post GST), benefits of input credits, etc. It also appears that separate application may need to be filed for each good and / or services in reference to which anti-profiteering is alleged,” said Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY India, in a note.

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