Gujarat HC directs GST Authority to allow petitioner to rectify entries in Form GSTR-3B

Shishir Sinha New Delhi | Updated on March 11, 2021

Says the authority is in the habit of raising technical issues leading to ‘unnecessary litigations’

The Gujarat High Court has come down heavily on the GST Authority stating that the habit of raising technical issues by the Authority is leading to ‘unnecessary litigations’.

The petitioner, Deepak Print, had submitted the returns of his business in May 2019 through the GST online portal. But inadvertently, in the course of making entries in the GSTR-3B it wrongly uploaded the entries of Deepak Process instead of Deepak Print. Subsequently it approached the nodal officer at Rajkot for correction, but with no luck.

Coming down heavily on the Tax Authority, the Court observed: “We hope and trust that the writ applicant may not have to come back to this court on any further technicalities that the Department is in the habit of raising, and thereby giving result to unnecessary litigation.”

The Court disposed of the petition filed by Deepak Print on Tuesday. It took note of the effort made by the petitioner to get the returns corrected. It expressed its displeasure at the tax authority stating that “It appears that the Nodal Officer at Rajkot did not even bother to give a formal reply or respond to the representation preferred by the writ applicant.”

It also pointed out that in the last two years, the respondents — Central Government, Gujarat State Government, GST Council and GST Network — have not even thought fit to file a formal reply opposing the writ application.

The court held that the applicant should be permitted to rectify the Form GSTR-3B in respect of May 2019. It directed the GSTN that on filing of the rectified Form GSTR-3B, it shall, within a period of two weeks, verify the claim made therein and give effect to the same once verified.

“As the writ applicant has been dragged into unnecessary litigation only on account of the technicalities raised by the respondents, the writ applicant shall not be saddled with the liability of payment of late fees,” the Bench said while disposing of the application.

Interestingly, the order relies heavily upon the Delhi High Court order in Bharti Airtel matter, which has now been stayed by the Supreme Court.

GSTR 3B is the returns form which shows payment of tax in cash after deducting input tax credit from gross tax liability. This is considered the most important GST returns form.

Difficulty faced

Smita Singh, Partner with Singh & Associates, feels this is another classic example of difficulty faced by the industry in GST compliance since errors in filing of returns for a particular month can happen due to various reasons and having no option to rectify such errors, which can be fully justified, is untenable.

“Due to the technicalities involved in GST compliance and sometimes being arbitrary or having no rationale, industry has no option but to drag such issues before the courts, which under GST can be seen as a much faster relief mechanism,” she said.

Published on March 11, 2021

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