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Amnesty scheme for GST notified; Jan 31 deadline to file appeals

The finance ministry has brought in an amnesty scheme to file appeals against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) demand orders. The move follows a decision taken by the GST Council in October.

The scheme allows the entities to file appeals till January 31, 2024 against orders issued by tax officers on or before March 31, 2023. 

In its 52nd meeting, the GST Council had recommended to provide an amnesty scheme for entities who couldn’t file appeal against GST demand orders before March 31, or whose appeal against the order was rejected solely on the grounds that the said appeal was not filed within the time period specified (which is three months).

The notification issued allows taxpayers to file an appeal after paying a pre-deposit of 12.5% against 10% currently. 

“This will facilitate a large number of taxpayers, who could not file appeal in the past within the specified time period,” the GST Council had said.

Sandeep Sehgal, Partner-Tax, AKM Global, said, “the amnesty scheme allowing appeals, missed to be filed against jurisdictional orders due to technical or administrative errors, while requiring a tax demand, strikes a balance between relief to taxpayers and maintaining the integrity of tax collections. This approach can help reduce the burden of litigation benefiting both taxpayers and tax authorities.”

However, Ankur Gupta, Practice Leader – Indirect Tax at SW India, said that the benefit of the notification can be availed only by depositing additional 2.5% of disputed tax amount instead of 10% therefore, which “would impact the working capital of taxpayers.”

“Also, the amnesty scheme only covers orders passed under sections 73 and 74 of CGST Act, but it should have covered all orders and it could have been applied comprehensively,” Gupta added.

The finance ministry had told Lok Sabha in March that total GST evasion detected between July 2017 to February 2023 was about Rs 3.1 trillion, of which over Rs 1 trillion was recovered. 

So far in FY24, Rs. 1.4 trillion has been detected as overall GST evasion (including fake input tax credit) and voluntary payment of Rs. 14,108 crore has been made for the same, the finance ministry had said.

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