To bring transparency and check harassment to honest taxpayers, the Supreme Court has asked the GST Council to recommend or issue advisory or instructions to the respective states for implementing the system of electronic (digital) generation of a Document Identification Number (DIN) in the indirect tax regime.
A bench comprising justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna “lauded” the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for implementing the system and asked other states to take a cue from these two southern states to consider “the system for electronic (digital) generation of a DIN for all communications sent by the state tax officers to taxpayers and other concerned persons so as to bring in transparency and accountability in the indirect tax administration at the earliest, which are so vital to efficient governance.”
“This would be in the larger public interest and enhance good governance,” the apex court said.
According to the six-page order passed recently, “even the central government has also taken a decision and as such implemented the DIN system of Central Board of Direct Taxes and on and from 01.10.2019, as every CBDT communication will have to have a Document Identification Number (DIN). ”
The judges also directed its Registry to send the copy of this order to the chief secretary of all the states to take further steps in the matter.
The directions were issued on a PIL by chartered accountant Pradeep Goyal, who submitted that implementing this system would prevent any abuse by the departmental officers of pre-dating communications and ratifying actions by authorisations subsequently made out in the files.
Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh, appearing for the Union of India, too agreed with the petitioner.
The petitioner had cited the Prime Minister’s earlier direction asking the department of revenue to come up with specific measures to ensure that “the honest taxpayers are not harassed and served better.” He said that the central government had taken a decision as far as back in 2019 to implement the DIN system of CBDT and even the finance ministry’s press note says that from October 1, 2019 every CBDT communication will have to have a DIN.