The tenure of NAA (National Anti-profiteering Authority), which primarily checks profiteering and corruption-related cases, has been extended by 2 years in a recent GST Council meeting. The move was essentially taken as an anti-profiteering body, NAA needs to deal with pending cases and in addition, new cases have surfaced. Apart from the increasing tenure of NAA, the government has planned to impose strict penalties on firms which engage in profiteering.
If the profiteered amount is not surrendered within 30 days, then the company will face a penalty to the extent of 10 per cent of the same, said Revenue Secretary after the GST Council meeting, as reported by daily news, Business Today.
Earlier on, an additional amount of INR 25,000 was imposed on the profiteered amount by GST governing body. After increasing NAAs tenure, the anti-profiteering authority has introduced SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for Central and State GST officers.
GST Officers Becoming Government Detectives Under SOP
According to NAAs proposition, Central and State GST officers will have to monitor top 20 suppliers in their regions, create mock purchases and take other additional measures.
As per rule 128 of CGST rules 2017, a complaint relating to money profiteering can be filed to GST commissioner. The governing body has designated commissioners as the competent authority to ascertain whether GST reduction has been implemented or not. Further, the commissioner can permit any officer to file a complaint. Till now, most of the complaints are filed by consumers.
So far, almost 100 profiteering cases have been brought into the notice of NAA. The filed cases show that large, as well as small companies, are engaged in profiteering by not implementing renewed GST rate cuts on their products. Some of the prominent companies involved in profiteering are Hindustan Lever, PG India and Dominos, as reported by the newspaper, Business Line.
How an SOP Will Help Seize Profiteers in India
In 35th GST Council, NAA represented a draft SOP to the committee. As per the draft, all GST commissioners (SGST as well as CGST) will have to find out the top twenty suppliers in the territory in relation to which availability of ITC and prices would be affected by variations in the tax rate.
The first B2B (business-to-business) invoices of these suppliers value chain, for the relevant period, may be checked, for any prima-facie violation of anti-profiteering provisions, the draft said, as reported by the cited newspaper.
As per SOPs direction, a commissioner will garner data from suppliers and further, gather pre-tax rate reduction proofs such as invoices as it would help them to build concrete facts about the case. For implementing this successfully, the governing body will have to create an anti-profiteering cell which will have to gather data as well as create awareness. Moreso, the draft suggested that GST commissioners may cause purchase of any goods or service affected by a rate change.
The move has been essentially taken to reduce profiteering cases in India. By increasing penance for profiteers and authorising GST officials with special duties, NAA is trying every inch to curb profiteers.