The government has initiated action, including searches, against Bengaluru headquartered Himalaya Drug Company for alleged evasion of goods and services tax (GST) on wet baby wipes.The company, which sells products ranging from toothpaste and soaps to animal shampoos and pharmaceuticals, including its flagship Liv 52, has habits offices searched by the authorities. Himalaya was allegedly paying 12 per cent GST on wet baby wipes, instead of 18 per cent by claiming that the product fell under the category of non-cosmetic napkins. A GST of 28 per cent was initially levied on wet baby wipes since July last year, which was subsequently brought down to 18 per cent.
When contacted, a Himalaya Drug Company spokesperson said, there appears to be some misunderstanding from the tax department regarding the company’s “Baby Wipes” and its classification proposed by them. “The Himalaya Drug Company is a tax-compliant organisation and we follow a structured approach towards the same. Himalaya has always been a tax-abiding organisation. We take appropriate advice from tax experts for our tax compliance. Our product ‘Baby Wipes’ is in the market since 2007 and has followed the correct classification since launch and there is no shortpayment of any central excise duty. Taxes are paid as per the GST regulations. We shall continue to extend our co-operation with the concerned officials in case of any clarification sought,” the spokesperson said in an e-mailed reply.Last week, the government clarified that essential items in baby bags, including wet baby wipes, will attract 18 per cent levy.