Rising Tide: Pending GST Appeals Surge 25% in First Half of Fiscal Year, Finance Ministry Acknowledges Significant Uptick
In a concerning revelation, the Finance Ministry informed Parliament on Monday that pending taxpayer appeals related to Central GST levies have witnessed a substantial increase of 25% in the first seven months of the current financial year. Acknowledging the surge in appeals, the ministry disclosed that nearly 3,000 new appeals have been filed since April, highlighting a significant rise in legal challenges faced by taxpayers.
According to data shared with the Lok Sabha, the number of pending taxpayer appeals under the GST regime has shown a more pronounced uptick in the first half of the current fiscal year compared to the entire financial year 2022-23. In the preceding fiscal year, approximately 2,100 appeals were added to the pending cases list, while the current fiscal has already seen nearly 3,000 new appeals filed since April.
As of October 31, the total number of pending appeals over Central GST levies reached 14,897, compared to about 11,899 on March 31. The data reveals that over 2,300 appeals were filed between April and June, and an additional 660 appeals were filed in the four-month period between July and October.
While the Finance Ministry reiterated the Centre's decision to establish State Benches for the much-anticipated GST Appellate Tribunals, in line with the recommendations of the GST Council, it did not provide a specific timeline for their establishment and operationalization. This has left members of Parliament seeking clarity on when these tribunals would become fully functional.
In response to queries from Lok Sabha MPs R. Pon Gautham Sigamani, Jagdambika Pal, and Rajyavardhan Rathore regarding the status of the tribunals, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary stated that State benches of the Tribunal had been constituted through a notification in September. However, the minister did not provide details on when these benches are expected to start functioning.
The surge in pending appeals raises concerns about the efficiency of the dispute resolution mechanism under the GST regime and underscores the need for timely establishment and operationalization of the GST Appellate Tribunals to address the growing caseload. The Finance Ministry's commitment to streamlining the appeals process and ensuring timely resolution remains crucial in maintaining a robust and effective GST framework.