SOP for scrutiny to be finalized ahead of the launch of GST Appellate Tribunal

Posted on    31 March 2023

The GST investigation wing of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs deals with policy issues relating to enforcement actions such as search, seizure, prosecution and arrest. 

Together Parliament cleaning the deck to establish Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal to resolve rising disputes under the nearly six-year-old indirect tax regime, the revenue department is in the process of finalizing a standard operating procedure (SOP) for officers carrying out intelligence and investigation work.


A top government official said, "With the changing legal landscape of indirect taxes, there is a need to frame a comprehensive manual and we are working on a codified set of instructions for the authorities to reduce fresh disputes." 

Legal challenges

The GST investigation wing of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), which deals with policy issues relating to enforcement actions like search, seizure, prosecution and arrest, is drafting the manual. The official said that it will include instructions for various SOPs and field formations to be followed and will be published soon.

Over the years, while the government has taken several steps to curb tax evasion, there is also a growing number of legal challenges by taxpayers in various High Courts and the Supreme Court, in the absence of a dedicated GST tribunal, in July 2017 on the implementation of the GST regime. It was envisaged since launch.

Tech infrastructure needed

Founder of Rastogi Chambers Abhishek A. "There will be a sudden rush in filing appeals after the setting up of tribunals, and therefore, careful deliberation on the inquiry procedures and functioning of the appellate bodies will help all stakeholders," Rastogi said.

"It is expected that this code will also move forward with a technology framework and have clear guidelines for online filing, virtual hearing, online submission, virtual tracking of cases and transparency in listing," he asserted, stressing that a workable code would ensure litigants Will definitely help.

Between April 2021 and November 2022, over 21,500 cases of GST evasion were registered by the revenue authorities, involving an amount of around ₹1.5 lakh crore. Out of this, about ₹46,200 crore was recovered and more than 470 people were arrested.

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