Govt looking at five-year limitation clause for excise, service tax disputes

Surabhi New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018

CBEC works on legacy provisions post-GST

With the Goods and Services Tax set to be rolled out from July 1, the Finance Ministry and the Central Board of Excise and Customs are likely to put a limitation of five years on all legacy tax disputes in central excise and service tax.

Sources said this would be as part of the transition guidelines being worked out by the Finance Ministry and the Central Board of Excise and Customs for central excise and service tax.

The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), which hears appeals against orders on indirect taxes, is also expected to continue functioning to finalise all such cases.

“The Department of Revenue will take a call on the exact working of CESTAT under GST. As of now, it is likely to continue independently of the GST Appellate Tribunal,” said an official familiar with the development.

With large number of tax cases pending for over a decade, officials hope that the transition provisions will help deal with such cases swiftly.

Provisions for transition of input tax credit have already been included in the Bills for Centre, State, Integrated, UT and State GST.

According to official data, as much as ₹93,163 crore of revenue from Central excise and service tax was under dispute in cases that were pending for one year or more at the end of 2015-16.

Urging field formations to get ready for the roll out of GST, CBEC Chairman Najib Shah had in October last year asked them to chalk out an Action Plan to reduce the pendencies to the maximum possible extent in the current fiscal.

Apart from tax disputes, the Department also has pending cases related to adjudications, refunds, rebates, drawback as well as export related schemes. It had increased the adjudicating powers of officials and also hiked the monetary threshold for filing cases.

Officials note that it may be difficult to start out with GST on an absolutely clear slate as many cases are pending with tribunals and higher courts but efforts are on to expedite as many cases as possible.

Published on March 27, 2017

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