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In the case of a dispute about the amount of GST payable, penalty under the Act, or an order issued by a GST Officer, the taxpayers registered under GST have a right to appeal. The taxpayer has a period of three months from the date of communication of the relevant order by the GST Officer to lodge an appeal with the Appellate Authority under GST.
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The taxpayer must duly sign the appeal along with the form of verification and furnish a physical copy of the appeal in triplicate, together with a certified copy of the decision being appealed, to the Appellate Authority within a period of seven days of filing the appeal online.
The taxpayer shall pay the GST tax, interest, fine, and penalty as agreed and deposit a minimum of 10% of the remaining amount in a tax dispute when submitting an appeal. The Appellate Authority will provide an acknowledgment in Form GST APL-02 identifying the appeal number when the appeal is filed.
After lodging an appeal, the GST Commissioner has six months from the date of transmission of the judgement or order to file an application with the Appellate Authority in Form APL GST-03 online. On proving sufficient cause and recording it in writing, the GST Commissioner may grant up to three adjournments to the affected party. The Appellate Authority will issue an order with a summary of the decision in FORM GST APL-04 clearly specifying the final amount of demand affirmed at the completion of the appeal procedure.
The Appellate Authority has the power to approve, change, or revoke the judgement altogether, but it will not restore the matter back to the concerned GST official.
Any order raising a fee/penalty/fine, detaining higher-value products, or reducing a refund or input tax credit will be issued only after a sufficient chance to prove reasons has been provided. Any decision or order for payment of unpaid/short-paid tax, incorrect GST refunds, or incorrectly claimed input tax credit shall be issued only after the appellant has been served with proper show-cause notice.
In accordance with Rule 108(3) of the CGST Rules 2017, within seven days of lodging the appeal under sub-rule (1), a certified copy of the decision or order appealed against must be submitted by the appellant, and afterward, a final acknowledgment, containing the appeal number, is to be issued in FORM GST APL-02 by the Appellate Authority or any other officer authorized by him in this regard.
It is also specified under the CGST rules that where the certified copy of the decision or order (i.e., the order appealed against) is furnished within seven days from the date of filing of FORM GST APL-01 on the GST portal, the date of filing of the appeal will be construed to be the date of the issuance of provisional acknowledgment. In addition, where the said certified copy of the decision or order is furnished after a period of seven days, the date of filing of the appeal will be construed to be the date of the submission of such copy.
Moreover, the explanation to Rule 108(3) of the CGST Rules 2017 puts further restrictions on this behalf. It indicates that the appeal is only deemed to be filed when the final acknowledgment, containing the appeal number, is issued by the Appellate Authority or an officer authorized by him in this regard. Otherwise, it won’t be considered as filed.
Now, in practice, the aforementioned procedure is found to be inconvenient by the taxpayers because most GST Adjudication authorities do not provide the contact information of the Appellate authority in their adjudication orders. And hence, it becomes impracticable for the appellant to submit a copy of the decision or order.
Currently, GST appeals may be filed electronically on the GST portal against an order of assessment, order of registration, or order of refund, etc. Such an appeal to the Appellate Authority has to be filed in FORM GST APL-01, together with the relevant documents. Once the appeal is filed, a provisional acknowledgment shall be issued to the appellant immediately.
When submitting an appeal electronically, the Order Number of the Original Adjudication Order must be inputted and searched, and then the information such as Order Date and Date of Communication are retrieved. As a result, after the applicant/ appellant successfully files an appeal, the information of the Original Adjudication Order gets automatically available to the relevant GST Appellate Authority.
Therefore, since the Original Adjudication Order is available through the GST website to the concerned GST Appellate Authority on the filing of the appeal, the practice proposed in Rule 108(3) of providing a certified true copy of the judgement or order appealed against to the GST Appellate Authority separately appears to be irrelevant.
Hence, this procedure should be simplified to the extent that a final acknowledgment, indicating the appeal number, must be issued in FORM GST APL-02 by the Appellate Authority, without necessitating the requirement of furnishing a copy of the order/decision. If the appeal is successfully filed by the appellant electronically on the GST portal and a provisional acknowledgment is generated, then the requirement of giving a hard copy of the decision or order could be avoided. The idea is also consistent with the Honourable Prime Minister’s emphasis on faceless assessment, evaluation, and appeal.
When a GST appeal is filed by an appellant to the Appellate Authority by virtue of Rule 108(1) of the CGST Rules 2017, such an appeal has to be accompanied by a certified copy of the decision or order appealed against. Thereafter, a final acknowledgment, containing the appeal number, is served in FORM GST APL-02 by the Appellate Authority. The law insists that the appeal is considered to be filed only where the final acknowledgment, stating the appeal number, is given by the Appellate Authority.
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A CA together with MBA (Fin) and M Com, she relishes taking interest in insightful writing in the domain of taxation and finance. She has gained experience as a full-time author and has also served an accounting role in industry.
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