THE Goods and Services Tax (GST) will lead to a reduction in the prices of real estate and gold, as well as help fight inflation. According to GST officials in Pune, the onus is also on the end consumer to be aware of the benefits and to see that the businesses do not overcharge.
“Instead of the 17-18 taxes which were levied on goods and services, GST is a single tax that is going to be levied. Along with reduction of taxes, the overheads for business in terms of consultants and lawyers will also be reduced. They should pass on the benefit directly to end customers,” said a GST official.
Citing the example of the real estate sector, Surendrakumar Mankoskar, additional commissioner, GST Pune, said the realtor can claim credit for as many as 167 items and reduce the cost of construction. Post GST, he said the real estate prices could reduce by Rs 400-500 per square feet.
On apprehensions about a rise in the prices of food items, Mankoskar said they were unfounded, as only branded commodities would fall under the GST net. “A lot has been said about how GST will affect small retailers, but such concerns are unfounded,” he said.
Traders with annual turnover below Rs 20 lakh are exempted from GST and those between Rs 20-75 lakh will have to file only four returns online in year. The traders need to maintain their daily invoice in a spreadsheet, which would be used while filing returns. “Returns will be filed on a spreadsheet and will involve no complications,” said Mankoskar. Traders, who earlier had to pay taxes like C form, VAT and LBT, will be saving on consultants’ fees and thus can pass on the benefits to end consumers, he said.
In the weeks before the rollout of GST, Pune, like other cities, had seen a spree of GST sale at almost every major outlet. However, Mankoskar said those were just trade gimmicks as prices of most commodities are not expected to go up. “There were apprehensions about issues regarding stock but those were unfounded,” he said.
Similarly, the trend by bigger manufacturers — of not accepting pre-ordered goods before July 1 — was not right, said Mankoskar. “Some of the companies function on zero inventory, so they try to create the same artificially by not accepting goods just prior to the introduction of GST; there is no correlation between GST rollout and them not accepting the goods,” he said.
The GST Act has an anti-profiteering clause, which is meant to ensure end consumers get the benefit, he said. “In case the business houses fail to translate the accrued benefits to the end consumer, action can be taken against them,” he said.
Asking the end consumer to be aware of this, Mankoskar said the Pune zone has a dedicated cell, which will take care of this.