GST officials asked to ensure consumers benefit from rate cut of Covid-related items


The National Anti-Profiteering Agency (NAA) has directed GST officials to ensure that the reduced tax rates on Covid-related items are passed on to the consumers.

In an office memorandum, NAA said that the supplies are required to commensurately reduce the prices of each of the supplies of gods and services are made by them to that the benefit of the reduction in tax rates and input tax credits is passed on t the consumers.

It further asked GST officials “to all possible steps evisage the GST laws”.

“I have also been directed to directed t request you to take up the complaints filed by common consumers on priority and to forward the same to the anti-profiteering apparatus,” said the office memorandum.

In terms of Section 171 of the CGST Act, 2017, the suppliers of goods and services should pass on the benefit of any reduction in the rate of tax or the benefit of input tax credit to the recipients by way of commensurate reduction in prices. The wilful action of not passing on the above benefits to the recipients in the manner prescribed is known as “profiteering”.

M.S Mani, Senior Director, Deloitte India said: “Businesses dealing with medical supplies that have undergone a GST rate reduction need to ensure that they have adequate documentation to demonstrate that the rate cuts have been passed on to the consumers.”

Rajat Bose, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co said that the office order issued by the NAA is a step in the right direction.

“The government should give wide publicity to Section 171 of the CGST Act and educate the consumers of their rights against companies who are not passing on the benefit of reduction in GST rates on Covid items,” Bose said.

Amid calls for lower levies on items and medicines required in Covid-19 treatment, the GST Council on June 12 decided to slash rates of several Covid-relief items to 5 per cent from existing 12-18 per cent levels, although it kept the much talked-about tax rate on vaccines unchanged at 5 per cent.