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‘Need a dedicated SC Bench or Tribunal to resolve GST disputes’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 27, 2020 Published on September 25, 2020

(Clockwise from top right) S. Jaikumar, Advocate, founder and Country Head, Swamy Associates; Rajesh Shukla, Head-Indirect Taxation, Tata Motors; Prakash Kumar, CEO, GSTN, with Shishir Sinha, Senior Deputy Editor, BusinessLine at the Knowledge Series Webinar on Friday.

‘What is needed is consistency. Now, every provision is being contested in every court’

To tackle GST-related disputes, India must go in for a special Bench at the Supreme Court level or a dedicated GST Tribunal, S Jaikumar, Advocate, Founder and Country Head, Swamy Associates, has suggested. This must be done if the country has to avoid flooding the corridors of High Courts and getting differential judgments, he said.

Jaikumar was speaking at the BusinessLine Knowledge Series webinar on “GST-Is it Really Good and Simple?’’ on Friday. The discussion was moderated by Shishir Sinha, Senior Deputy Editor, The Hindu BusinessLine.

 

Uniformity

In three-and-a-half years of existence of GST, there are some 550 notifications, 150 circulars, one amendment Act, 10 ordinances, and this is not going to help, especially the small traders, Jaikumar added.

“Sensible approach will be to have GST Tribunal under the guidelines of the courts or SC Special Bench so that sanity prevails in 29 states and ensures uniformity (on how the law is interpreted). What is needed is consistency. Now every provision is being contested in every court”, he said.

Jaikumar also stressed the need for judicial participation in the Authority for Advance Rulings.

“Unless there is judicial participation, AAR will fade out”, he said. Jaikumar also suggested that the concept of “blocked credits” be removed as it is regressive, and several problems will get solved by doing so.

‘Reduce tax slabs’

Rajesh Shukla, Head-Indirect Taxation, Tata Motors, said the GST system was simple, but it was “not what we had dreamt about”. He suggested that the Government deal with e-invoice introduction with a lot of caution.

A case was also made by Shukla to reduce the number of tax slabs — auto sector has the highest number of tax slabs and tax rates — so that classification of disputes can be minimised.

He sought a master login facility for companies that are operating in multiple states.

Prakash Kumar, CEO, GSTN responded to Shukla’s request by saying that the Government was indeed working to introduce a master login facility for large taxpayers similar to the one that is allowed for consultants.

GSTN CEO ruled out scope for postponing the introduction of the e-invoicing regime scheduled for October 1 and revealed that, from November 1, GSTN will start auto-populating GSTR-3B returns.

He also talked about many initiatives that have been taken to simplify GST and backed his statements with data.

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Published on September 25, 2020
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