New CBIC SOP issued to conduct scrutiny during FY 2019-20

The CBIC has issued a fresh GST instruction for officers conducting GST scrutiny for FY 2019-20 and later years. The instruction is a follow-up to a previous CBIC instruction on the same matter but for FY 2017-18 and FY 2018-19.

The previous instruction would remain valid until the implementation of the online scrutiny module, which gets modified through the fresh instructions. The DG systems issued an advisory 22/2023 on 16th May 2023, along with a new user manual. It also has a procedure to follow for GST scrutiny, issue of notice, and how to address replies or issue orders. 

Returning to the instruction, it is a continuation of the previous instruction No. 02/2022-GST dated 22nd March 2022. It covers how returns are selected for scrutiny, an overview of the process officers must follow, the timelines, reporting and monitoring.

The Directorate General of Analytics and Risk Management (DGARM) selects returns for scrutiny based on various risk parameters. Later, the DGARM makes the list of GSTINs to be scrutinised through the DG Systems on the GST scrutiny dashboard of the relevant Central Tax officer on the ACES-GST application.

Details such as the risk parameters based on risk for a particular GSTIN, the tax amount or discrepancy involved or revenue impact must be disclosed in monetary terms. The data displayed is subjected to changes due to any changes later carried out by the vendors or the taxpayer.

Details of GSTINs so selected for an officer must be approved by a divisional assistant or deputy commissioner in the format as per Annexure A of the previous instruction 02-2022 dated 22nd March 2023. According to the instruction, each officer will get up to four GSTIN cases per day, which in turn, covers all returns filed during the financial year.

The instruction calls for a minimal interface between the officer and taxpayers. The ACES-GST application is interlinked with the GST portal for smooth communication and notification of actions taken by officers and taxpayers.

Monthly Scrutiny Progress Report and Scrutiny Register must be updated and made available for download as MIS reports on the officer’s dashboard. The rest of the procedure and timeline shall remain the same as the previous instructions.

Online scrutiny aims to boost self-compliance by leveraging technology and risk-based tools. However, several challenges are posed to taxpayers to stay compliant with the latest regulations. Yet, automated scrutiny of returns helps in saving a lot of time and effort for taxpayers and officers.

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