Government taking steps to decriminalise certain offences under GST law

In a move to decriminalise various offences of the GST law, the centre has kicked off a mega overhaul. This move will eliminate the harassment faced by the industry by tax authorities.

Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax (DGGST) while commuting to the industry regarding the same wrote,”There is a proposal to undertake comprehensive review of GST laws with focus on decriminalising certain offences and wider use of compounding provisions, with the objectives of improving ease of living, improving business sentiments and reducing litigation.”

The DGGST has sought for inputs and recommendations from the industry bodies in order to decriminalise certain offences.

In order to identify and make the necessary changes in the GST law at the earliest, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has constituted a group of officers to complete the consultation exercise.

“GST arrest provisions are based on ‘reasons to believe’ which is not good as innocent people may fall in trap. Interestingly, arrests have even been made without concluding the investigation process. The issuance of charge sheet is not enough as the show-cause notice (SCN) should be adjudicated before concluding on the offence,”

~ Abhishek A Rastogi, Partner, Khaitan & Co.

“There is need to decriminalise certain sub-sections of Section 132 of CGST Act, relating to availment of input tax credit. An innocent taxpayer or recipient of goods or services should not be punished for the fraudulent actions of others.”

~ Vivek Jalan, Partner, Tax Connect Advisory Services

Earlier, the government had converted many criminal offences in the Companies Act 2013 to civil wrongs in order to facilitate trade and business in the country and reduce litigation.

While announcing measures to fight economic crisis caused by the pandemic, the government had said in May that 7 compoundable offences would altogether be dropped and 5 would be dealt under alternative framework.

Source: Business Today

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