CBIC to Rollout SOP for Issuing GST Notices & Summons

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is planning to roll out a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for issuing notices and summons under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to prevent harassment of businesses.

Sources say that the new SOP will allow the board to closely monitor the GST probe, including its progress and the line of investigation adopted, which will make officials more accountable and the process more transparent.

As of now, the department has not issued any SOP for GST notices and summons. Hence, it had been difficult for the department to observe the officers. However, once the SOP is in place, the department can question any breach. The sources added that the draft is almost final, and there have been extensive discussions with field officers and all stakeholders.

Recently, there has been a rise in the number of notices issued by GST officials. Also, the officers were summoning the finance chiefs and chief executives to be physically present for a hearing, and in a few cases, the businesses ended up with repeated summons. The sources said that the proposed SOP would ensure no overlapping notices between the central and state jurisdictions. 

Also, businesses complained that sometimes they receive multiple notices on the same issue, making compliance difficult for them, and they had to spend additional resources on replying to them. CBIC had been issuing several circulars to officials from time to time in this regard.

One was issued in May 2022, directing the field officers not to force the taxpayer to make a voluntary tax payment during a search. Also, the board clarified that the recovery of dues should follow the due legal process after the issuance of the adjudication order and not during searches. This circular came after increasing complaints against using force and coercion by tax authorities to make a recovery during searches or inspections.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at dvsr.anjaneyulu@clear.in

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