New Delhi, December 25, 2017

State governments have received 70 complaints of profiteering after the launch of goods and services tax (GST) in July, with Haryana accounting for most of the cases that are being examined by screening committees.

Anti-profiteering action was provided in the GST law to ensure that businesses pass on the gains from tax reduction or do not overcharge customers citing the introduction of the new indirect tax, with action proposed at the state as well as national level. While there are screening committees at the state and central level, the government recently set up a National Anti-Profiteering Authority that will probe and adjudicate on the matter. Six months since GST was launched, no entity has so far faced a penalty.

Data shared with Parliament on Friday showed that 45 of the 70 cases being dealt with at the state level were in Haryana, followed by Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh (five each).

Although the details of the sectors being investigated were not immediately available, sources said, real estate companies are seeing a large number of complaints as the ones — where construction is at nascent stage or yet to start — have not started renegotiating the rates.

Similarly, restaurants are the other focus area, especially after several of them, especially the organised sector players, opted to raise menu prices to negate the benefit of lower GST of 5%, which came with withdrawal of input tax credit.

"There may be many instances of profiteering but it may be tough to report many of the small violations and proving them will be even more difficult. But even if three-four companies face action, a strong message will go out," said a tax consultant.

Separately, the government said its two call centres to address queries from taxpayers have got over 25 lakh calls, with 97% of them resolved successfully.

[The Times of India]