The proposed anti-profiteering authority under the new GST regime will take up for scrutiny only those cases that have mass impact, but it will not look at small cases of undue profits, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said. A five member National Anti-Profiteering Authority, headed by a secretary-level officer, will be set up soon to keep a tab on businesses that have not passed on to consumers the benefit of lower tax rates under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. “The authority will take up cases of mass importance. It will not look into small cases, but no monetary threshold has been fixed on cases to be picked up for scrutiny by the authority,” Adhia said.
As per the three tier structure — the GST Implementation Committee (GIC) will receive complaints and those which are state specific and involving smaller amounts will be transferred to the state screening committee. Other cases will be referred to the Directorate General of Safeguards who will finish investigation within 3 months and send the findings to the anti-profiteering authority, which will pass an order in another 3-months time. The small cases, which are confined to one state specifically, will be referred to the state screening committee. ADG Safeguards will act as Secretary to the National Anti-Profiteering Authority and will coordinate between the authority and the DG Safeguards office, the official added.
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In the three-tier structure for monitoring anti- profiteering, the GST implementation committee, including four officers each from the Centre and states and one officer from the GST Council, will first receive the complaints. Thereafter, DGS, which has the power to issue summons, will conduct investigation and give its findings to the authority. The anti-profiteering authority, if it finds that a company has not passed on the GST benefits, will either direct it to pass on the benefits to consumers or if the beneficiary cannot be identified will ask the company to transfer the amount to the ‘consumer welfare fund’ within a specified timeline.
The authority will have the power to cancel registration of any entity or business if it fails to pass on to consumers the benefit of lower taxes under the GST regime, but it would probably be the last step against any violator. According to the anti-profiteering rules, the authority will suggest return of the undue profit earned from not passing on the reduction in incidence of tax to consumers along with an 18 per cent interest, as also impose penalty. A five member committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, comprising Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, CBEC Chairman Vanaja Sarna and chief secretaries from two states, will soon finalise the Chairman and members of the authority. It will be in existence for just two years unless the GST Council extends the tenure.