CBIC issues 33,000 notices for GST return discrepancies in FY18, FY19
New Delhi, Dec 6, 2023
The last date for filing annual returns for 2017-18 fiscal was extended till February 7, 2020, while for 2018-19 it was till December 2020
Central tax officers have sent around 33,000 GST notices to businesses for discrepancies in returns filed and short payment of taxes in 2017-18 and 2018-19 financial years, a CBIC official said on Wednesday.
The National Co-ordination Committee of the State and Central GST officers, chaired by the Revenue Secretary, is likely to be held by the end of this month or early January, which among other things would also sensitise tax officers regarding issuance of notices, the official said.
Speaking at the Assocham National Conference on GST, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) Member-GST Shashank Priya said the notices sent for 2017-18 and 2018-19 were a "small percentage" of the total returns filed for the two fiscal years.
He said the bunching up of demand notices was also on account of extension in the deadline given to taxpayers for filing annual returns for the two years. Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out on July 1, 2017.
The last date for filing annual returns for 2017-18 fiscal was extended till February 7, 2020, while for 2018-19 it was till December 2020.
Under the GST law, every registered person is liable to file annual return for every financial year on or before December 31 of the next financial year. Accordingly, the last date of filing annual return for 2022-23 fiscal is December 31, 2023.
"At the request of the taxpayers the time for return filing was postponed. So returns also were filed at a late juncture and officers have come under a lot of pressure (to scrutinise the returns). So this has led to this unfortunate situation. One hopes that as we progress forward this situation gets addressed and we will not have all the proposed notices pending at the same time. For 2017-18, it has happened like that and we will see how best to deal with it," Priya said.
The Central GST officers have sent around 30,000-33,000 notices to GST registered businesses for short-payment of taxes, he said.
"In our interaction with the field formations, we will try to sensitise them that they should put their officers on alert, they should do a critical scrutiny of details, documents, facts given by the registrants before coming to a conclusion and passing an order. I'm sure, we will take up this issue in the National Coordination Committee meeting so that all tax administrations are sensitised," Priya said.
These disputes, he said, if are resolved out at the level of adjudicating authority, instead of approaching the GST appellate tribunal, would be a relief both for the tax administration as well as taxpayers.
"We are working on automated scrutiny module that would give certainty on how scrutiny is to be done and what kind of issues will be looked into return scrutiny," Priya said.
Further, the officer said the GST appellate tribunal would be put in place in the next 4-5 months and efforts are also being made to identify infrastructure, following which selection process of members will start.
With regard to curbing fake registration under GST, Priya said in many tax administration, about 25-28 per cent of the businesses registered were found to be fake.
"We are looking at how we further tighten the registration. We are also looking at how we make it less and less open for changing the GSTR-3B (monthly GST payment form)," he said.
The Central and State GST officers have detected 21,791 fake GST registrations and over Rs 24,000 crore of suspected tax evasion during a two-month-long special drive from May 16 to July 15, 2023, to weed out bogus registrations.
"A total of 21,791 entities (11,392 entities pertaining to state tax jurisdiction and 10,399 entities pertaining to CBIC jurisdiction) having GST registration were discovered to be non-existent. An amount of Rs 24,010 crore (state - Rs 8,805 crore + Centre - Rs 15,205 crore) of suspected tax evasion was detected during the special drive," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had informed the Parliament.
The National Co-ordination Committee of the State and Central GST officers in its last meeting on April 24, 2023, had decided to launch the special drive to detect suspicious/ fake GSTINs and to conduct requisite verification and further remedial action to weed out these fake billers from the GST eco-system and to safeguard government revenue.
[Press Trust of India]