Scam alert: Many shops deceiving customers with ‘fake GST’ bills

People can check a trader’s eligibility to collect GST by entering the GSTIN shown in the bill on the central GST portal.

Published: 21st August 2023 07:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st August 2023 07:00 AM   |  A+A-

Land scam

Image used for representational purposes.

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Several shops and eateries in the state are duping customers by charging GST fraudulently, it has emerged. These include traders who lack GST registration and those who continue tax collection even after the cancellation or expiry of registration. It is learnt that the offenders are mostly restaurants.

In a recent incident, a government employee was reportedly duped by a restaurant in the state capital. She along with her friends had food from the restaurant on July 22. They received a bill for Rs 751.14. The bill bore a GST Identification Number (GSTIN) and showed the GST as Rs 48.86. “However, the bill lacked the HSN code for commodities, which is mandatory under the law. So, I checked the GSTIN on the central GST portal. I realised that the GSTIN had been cancelled suo motu with effect from June 9,” she said on condition of anonymity.

Though the woman made a request via WhatsApp for repayment of the amount, the shop allegedly failed to respond. She has now lodged a complaint with the district consumer redressal commission.

An officer with the tax department said they have received many such complaints, mostly against restaurants. The department views such offences seriously and is offering a reward to consumers who pass on information about such illegal practices, the officer said. 

“Consumers can lodge complaints either directly at the local state GST office or via email. We will investigate based on the complaint. If the malpractice is confirmed, a portion of the additional tax amount recovered from the trader will be given as a reward to the informant,” he said. 

‘Customers can check GST no. of traders from portal’

The officer said the penalty varies according to the offences detected in the inspection. “If turnover suppression is confirmed, the trader will be asked to pay the tax amount for the suppressed turnover and an equal amount as a penalty,” he said.

People can check a trader’s eligibility to collect GST by entering the GSTIN shown in the bill on the central GST portal. The most common reason for cancellation of GST registration is non-filing of returns.

According to the department, vigilant consumers can help increase compliance. The department’s ‘Lucky Bill’ app programme has also increased the compliance level. Under this, people can upload bills for purchases of goods and services in Kerala. Prizes are given to selected people who upload bills on the app.

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