Why is it in the news?
- Recently, the Indian Finance Ministry has officially notified the establishment of 31 GST Appellate Tribunals for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) across 28 States and 8 Union Territories.
- Prior to this notification, industry players had been resorting to approaching High Courts and the Supreme Court to resolve taxpayer disputes with the Revenue Department.
- The first set of GST tribunals is expected to become operational between November and January 2024.
- These tribunals are expected to provide relief to taxpayers who have faced high pre-deposit requirements.
More about the news
- The establishment of GST Appellate Tribunals aims to expedite adjudication and provide tax certainty, especially for recurring litigative issues.
- It is expected to contribute to a faster and more economical resolution of cases, boosting business sentiments and ease of doing business in India.
- As of June 30, there were over 14,000 pending appeals from taxpayers regarding central GST levies, indicating a 20% increase from the previous quarter.
- Uttar Pradesh will have the most benches with three, while Karnataka and Rajasthan will have two each, and Maharashtra and Goa will have three combined.
- Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu will each have two benches, and West Bengal, Sikkim, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will share two benches in Kolkata.
- The northeastern States will have one tribunal bench in Guwahati, with circuit benches in Aizawl, Agartala, and Kohima to be activated based on the volume of appeals.
Goods and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)
- The Goods and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) is mandated by Section 109 of the CGST Act, 2017.
- It specializes in resolving disputes related to GST laws at the appellate level.
- The principal bench is located in New Delhi, and states can decide on the number of benches or boards they need with GST council approval.
- Each bench consists of two judicial members and two technical members, with a senior judicial member from the State High Court on the selection panel.
- The GSTAT is typically headed by a former Supreme Court judge or a former Chief Justice of a High Court.
- It holds the same powers as a court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and is deemed a Civil Court for trying cases.
- The GSTAT can hear appeals, issue orders, and directions, including those for recovering amounts due and enforcing its orders.
- It has the authority to impose penalties, revoke or cancel registrations, and take necessary measures to ensure compliance with GST laws.
- The tribunal may resolve disputes involving dues or fines of less than Rs. 50 lakhs through a single-member bench.