Six years after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime was introduced, the country will have Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) with a Principal Bench in New Delhi and benches across states by December as the Lok Sabha is expected to give the nod to changes in the law in this regard on Friday, paving way for faster dispute resolution.
The Principal Bench and each state Bench would have two judicial members and two technical members each, with equal representation from the Centre and states in the case of technical members.
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According to the proposed changes, the cases involving the issue of the place of supply would be heard by the Principal Bench only, sources said.
A single member of a Bench would hear appeals below Rs 5 million related to tax or input tax credit or fee or penalty determined in an order of any appellate authority or revisional authority if no question of law is involved.
In all other cases, matters would be heard together by one Judicial member and one technical member.
The tribunal will help quickly resolve disputes relating to the key indirect tax and boost tax collections, addressing concerns of both industry and tax authorities.
According to the proposed changes to the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act through Finance Bill 2023, many Benches could be set up in each state, subject to the approval of the GST Council.
Last month, the GST Council approved the GSTAT contours finalised by a group of ministers, headed by Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala.
“Delay in the establishment of Appellate Tribunal has led to an accumulation of unresolved legal matters under GST. Currently, taxpayers are filing writ petitions to directly move the High Court in the absence of the Appellate Tribunal. Establishment of Appellate tribunal would result in a lower burden on High Courts, Supreme Court & at the same time would provide taxpayers much-needed reprieve,” Tanushree Roy, Director- Indirect Tax, Nangia Andersen India, said.
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A four-member search and selection committee, headed by either the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or his representative judge from the SC, will be tasked with the appointment of members (except for technical members from states) to the Benches. The panel will include the President of the GSTAT (one of the judicial members of the Principal Bench), a union government secretary and a state chief secretary nominated by the Council. The chairperson will have a casting vote.