GST Appeals & Hearing

GST Appeals & Hearing

Tax laws (or any laws, for that matter) impose obligations. Such obligations are broadly of two kinds: tax-related and procedure-related. The taxpayer’s compliance with these obligations is verified by the tax officer (by various instruments such as scrutiny, audit, anti-evasion, etc.), as a result of which sometimes there are situations of actual or perceived non-compliance. If the difference in views persists, it results into a dispute, which is then required to be resolved. Tax law recognizes that on any given set of facts and laws, there can be different opinions or viewpoints. Hence, it is likely that the taxpayer may not agree with the “adjudication order” so passed by the tax officer. It is equally possible that the Department may itself not be in agreement with the adjudication order in some cases. It is for this reason that the statute provides further channels of appeal, to both sides. However, since the right to appeal is a statutory right, the statute also places reasonable fetters on the exercise of that right. The time limits prescribed by the statute for filing of appeals and the requirement of pre-deposit of a certain sum before the appeal can be heard by the competent authority are examples of such fetters on the statutory right. GST being implemented in our country is a dual GST i.e. to say every supply attracting the levy will be leviable to both central tax and state tax. So does this mean that if a taxpayer is aggrieved by any such transaction, he will have to approach both the authorities for exercising his right of appeal? The answer is a plain NO. The Act makes provisions for cross empowerment between CGST and SGST/ UTGST officers so as to ensure that if a proper officer of one Act (say CGST) passes an order with respect to a transaction, he will also act as the proper officer of SGST for the same transaction and issue the order with respect to the CGST as well as the SGST/UTGST component of the same transaction. The Act also provides that where a proper officer under one Act (say CGST) has passed an order, any appeal/review/revision/rectification against the said order will lie only with the proper officers of that Act only (CGST Act) So also if any order is passed by the proper officer of SGST, any appeal/review/revision/rectification will lie with the proper officer of SGST only. On conclusion of the appeal process, the AA will pass his order (Order-in-Appeal) which may confirm, modify or annul the decision or order appealed against but shall not refer the case back to the authority that passed the said decision or order. The AA can also increase the “rigour” of the order appealed against by enhancing any fee or penalty or fine in lieu of confiscation or confiscating goods of greater value or reducing the amount of refund or input tax credit, but this can only be done after the AA has given to the appellant a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the proposed order. Further, if