[Opinion] Love for ongoing legacy practices in Appeals

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Shweta Jain Gupta – [2022] 145 taxmann.com 67 (Article)

The human evolution theory talks about how the human body has evolved from time to time by picking up various traits in order to survive within the changing environment. According to the theory, the strongest are those who are adaptable to the change.

However, it feels like the GST lawmakers and authority are still not aware of the theory of evolution. This is the reason why despite the constant efforts of the Government to create awareness on the E-governance, still the authority and the lawmakers have not adapted to the changes and have restrained themselves from adopting the concept of E-filing of documents entirely. Therefore, at present there exists certain provisions in GST Act, where still manual (as per the department officers) submission of the documents is also required, even after the facility for the same is available on the Common GST Portal. It feels like the lawmakers and the authorities are not so confident on adopting the electronic mechanism entirely.

Section 107 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (CGST Act), allows the person aggrieved from the order passed or decision made by the Adjudicating Authority to file an appeal before the prescribed Appellate Authority. The procedure to file an appeal is prescribed in Rule 108 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Rules, 2017 (CGST Rules). As per Rule 108, the aggrieved person is required to appeal in FORM GST APL-01 along with relevant documents either electronically or in other way as notified by the Commissioner. However, only a provisional acknowledgment is generated on online submission. In order to obtain the acknowledgment, the applicant is required to submit the certified copy of the order or the decision within 7 days of the online submission. The relevant extract of the provision is provided hereunder for the reference:

“Rule 108. Appeal to the Appellate Authority.-

(1) An appeal to the Appellate Authority under sub-section (1) of section 107 shall be filed in FORM GST APL-01 , along with the relevant documents, either electronically or otherwise as may be notified by the Commissioner, and a provisional acknowledgement shall be issued to the appellant immediately.

(2) The grounds of appeal and the form of verification as contained in FORM GST APL-01 shall be signed in the manner specified in rule 26 .

(3) A certified copy of the decision or order appealed against shall be submitted within seven days of filing the appeal under sub-rule (1) and a final acknowledgement, indicating appeal number shall be issued thereafter in FORM GST APL-02 by the Appellate Authority or an officer authorised by him in this behalf:

Provided that where the certified copy of the decision or order is submitted within seven days from the date of filing the FORM GST APL-01, the date of filing of the appeal shall be the date of the issue of the provisional acknowledgement and where the said copy is submitted after seven days, the date of filing of the appeal shall be the date of the submission of such copy.

Explanation. – For the provisions of this rule, the appeal shall be treated as filed only when the final acknowledgement, indicating the appeal number, is issued.”

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