Notice to Samsung for not passing GST cut benefit to consumers

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Samsung, Anti-Profiteering, GST, numerous, Central Goods and Services Tax, Samsung spokesperson

The Directorate General of Anti-Profiteering has served a notice to technology major Samsung India for allegedly not passing on the benefits of GST reduction to its customers and in turn making undue profits, sources said.

The notice, sources said, was served on the basis of a complaint which alleged that the company was not transferring the rate cut in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on television sets to the consumers.

In December, the GST Council reduced the tax rate on televisions with screen sizes of up to 32 inches to 18 per cent from 28 per cent, which came into effect on January 1, 2019. Earlier, only the television sets with screens up to 26 inches were in the 18 per cent tax slab.

The anti-profiteering body, which functions under the GST Council, has also sought documents of sales made by the company.

Despite repeated messages and phone calls, the Samsung spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Company sources, however, confirmed the notice from the anti-profiteering body but put the blame squarely on channel partners for not passing on the benefit of lower duty to consumers.

They said the company has no control over partners some of whom might not have affected price cuts based on duty revision. At the company level, they said, pricing of all products was revised downwards post duty cuts and products were supplied to partners at lower per unit cost.

Non-transmission of rate cuts to consumers violates Section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act which mandates that any reduction in tax rates on goods and services or benefits of input tax credit should be passed on to customers through a reduction in prices.

The duty of the anti-profiteering agency is to conduct investigation and collect evidence necessary to determine whether the benefit of reduction in the rate of tax on any supply of goods or services or the benefits of input tax credit has been passed on to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices, in terms of Section 171 of the CGST Act, 2017.

Several companies have faced action from the anti-profiteering body over numerous complaints filed by consumers.