CBEC asks field offices to clear all pending cases before GST roll out

Surabhi New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018

Najib Shah, CBEC Chairman

Hoping to roll out the Goods and Services Tax on a clean slate, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) plans to clear all pending cases before next April.

“A heavy burden of legacy work regime would hamper us in giving our undivided attention to GST. The solution is to immediately chalk out an Action Plan to reduce the pendencies to the maximum possible extent in the balance months of the current financial year,” CBEC Chairman Najib Shah said in a recent letter to field formations.

The move comes just six months before the Centre’s targeted roll-out date for GST of April 1, 2017 and at a time when the Finance Ministry is also initiating work on tax proposals for the Budget 2017-18.

Apart from tax disputes, the Department also has pending cases related to adjudications, refunds, rebates, drawback as well as export related schemes. While there is no official estimate of the number of pending cases with the CBEC and its field divisions, officers said that they must be running in thousands if not crores.

Shah said that addressing the pending cases would also reassure stakeholders the trade facilitation remains the CBEC’s top priority and would also give them confidence that the Department is capable of handling reforms such as GST.

Referring to a similar initiative launched in Hyderabad by the Department, he said that similar initiatives must be started by field offices across the country.

“It must be a collective responsibility which means that local solutions must be found to aid the Commissionerates with higher pendencies. This could involve temporary diversion of staff or even redistribution of pending cases,” he noted, adding that initiatives such as pre-audit would also improve the disposal of refund and rebate claims.

Asking Chief Commissioners to closely monitor the progress in resolving such cases, Shah said, further said that a “First In First Out” approach must be used at each stage of processing such cases to ensure transparency and efficiency.

The CBEC had last month asked field formations to take stock of the pending tax cases and resolve them at the earliest.

Published on October 19, 2016

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