The government’s decision to create a national Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal to adjudicate disputes is welcome. It will help in faster resolution and also bring uniformity in the redressal of GST disputes.
Reportedly, the tribunal will act as a forum for second appeal and decide cases where there are divergent orders by the authority for advance rulings at the state level. This will reduce the burden on high courts that have a huge pendency of cases.
The tribunal, which will mainly adjudicate disputes relating to the so-called place-of-supply rules, will be akin to CESTAT that was created to hear appeals against orders passed by Commissioners of Customs, Excise and Service Tax.
The plan is also to set up three regional benches. The need is to appoint competent judges and have intelligent IT infrastructure to deal with cases that are referred to the tribunal. Today, the facility of advance rulings for GST allows taxpayers to know their dues in advance, and helps reduce litigation.
However, problems have surfaced due to conflict between rulings by different state authorities. Rightly, industry has been demanding the creation of a centralised authority for advance ruling. And the GST Council has seen merit in this demand.
So, amendments needed to the GST Act should be done swiftly to remove any tax uncertainty for businesses. Appeals against contradictory rulings by the Authority for Advance Rulings should be disposed of quickly.
Strengthening the dispute resolution mechanism is a must. At the same time, the GST Council should make the tax regime and rules simple for their transparent, consistent interpretation. Fewer and lower rates will minimise classification disputes, reduce the burden on the judiciary and boost GST collections, as well as direct tax collections, once GST data is mined.
Source : https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-editorials/welcome-move-for-gst-appellate-body/