Relief for consumers, GST profiteering complaint form simplified
The number of columns in the simplified single-page form have been slashed to 16, of which 12 fields are mandatory, to make it convenient for people. The original profiteering complaint form, though a single page document, had about 44 columns seeking a number of details and half of those fields were mandatory
The Finance Ministry has simplified and reduced the number of columns in the complaint form to make it easier for consumers to report any profiteering activity by businesses post GST rollout. The number of columns in the simplified single-page form have been slashed to 16, of which 12 fields are mandatory, to make it convenient for people. The original profiteering complaint form, though a single page document, had about 44 columns seeking a number of details and half of those fields were mandatory. In the new form the applicant has to give his name and address and contact details along with proof of identity. Besides, the name and address of the supplier too are to be provided.
Besides, the applicant has to state any goods or service for which the application is being filed as well as state the price value per unit and the MRP pre and post GST. The applicant has to enclose evidence like copies of invoice or price list to prove that the benefit of tax rate reduction or benefit of input tax credit has not been passed on to consumers. The move to simplify the form followed numerous representations received by the standing committee red flagging the complicated nature of the form. Till January, as many as 170 complaints have been filed before the standing committee and the screening committee by consumers against businesses for not passing on benefits of tax rate reduction since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1.
While simplifying the form, it was kept in mind that a common man should be able to apply without the help of an accountant. In the earlier form, the consumer has to specify the actual price or value charged per unit pre-GST and the same post GST. Also, the total tax per unit and the reduction in tax amount post GST has to be filled up by the complainant. Details of pre-GST rates of excise duty, VAT, service tax, luxury tax charged by the businesses against whom the profiteering complaint is being lodged was also required to be filled up in the earlier form.
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Self-attested copies of all documentary evidences like proof of identity, invoice, price list and detailed working sheet were required to be submitted while filing up the earlier form. As per the structure of the anti-profiteering mechanism in the GST regime, complaints of local nature are first sent to the state-level screening committee while those of national level are marked for the Standing Committee.
If the complaints have merit, the respective committees refer the cases for further investigation to the Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS). Once DGS submits its report, it is scrutinised by the Anti-Profiteering Authority for further action, which may include fine and extreme penalty like cancellation of registration.