Filing complaints against companies for not passing on the benefits of tax reduction under the goods and services tax (GST) regime is to become simpler. The government is expected to simplify the anti-profiteering application complaint form.
This comes after muted response to the mechanism and 150 complaints so far. Only six states got complaints directly. None has come from Delhi, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.
B N Sharma, chairman of the anti-profiteering authority, had asked the standing committee, part of the mechanism, to suggest a simplified version of the form.
“The form will soon be simplified. Even a grade-five student will be able to file a complaint. The mandatory fields have been cut down to a great extent,” said an official.
The new form will only require a complainant to mention the product and GST identification number of the seller. “The rest of the job will be of the government, to investigate and make a case. Any common man will be able to file a complaint,” said the official.
The current format requires detailed information such as sale price, taxes (both before and after GST), benefits of input credits, etc. Also, details such as GST identification number of the company in question and the six-digit harmonised system of nomenclature (HSN) code of products. A separate application needs to be filed for each good or service for which anti-profiteering is alleged.
The state screening committees have received only 23 complaints; the Centre’s standing committee has 63. The 23 from states comprise Uttar Pradesh (6), Andhra and Haryana (5 each), Rajasthan (4), Maharashtra (2), and Uttarakhand (1).
The GST Council in its meeting on March 10 will consider the issue of simplifying the anti-profiteering form.
Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS), investigative arm of the anti-profiteering authority, has sent notices to Pyramid Infratech, Honda Motor Vehicles, Lifestyle International, and Hardcastle Restaurants (master franchisee of McDonald’s) to answer a charge of not passing on the benefit of GST to the final consumer. It had asked these entities to provide their balance sheets, trial balance and profit and loss accounts for the past year.
The mechanism is a three-stage process — state-level screening committee for local complaints and a standing committee for national-level complaints, besides investigation by the DGS.