CG . released Circular No. 157/13/2021-GST To clarify on the extension of the limitation under the Goods and Services Tax Act in terms of the Honorable Supreme Court order dated April 27, 2021.
CG has issued notices under Section 168A of the CGST Act of 2017, that the time limit for completion of various actions, by any authority or by any person, under the CGST Act, falling within the prescribed period, until a specified date, has been extended, subject to certain exceptions to as specified in the said notices. However, the extension of the limitation pursuant to the Honorable Supreme Court Order of 27.04.2021 in Miscellaneous Application No. 665/2021 in SMW (C) No. 3/2020 states that:
“Therefore, we reinstate the order of March 23, 2020 and in continuation to the order of March 8, 2021 that the limitation period(s), as provided by any public or private laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, whether admissible or No, it shall remain extended until other orders.It has also been clarified that the period from March 14, 2021 until other orders will also be excluded in the calculation of the periods provided for in Sections 23(4) and 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, Section 12A of Commercial Courts Act, 2015 and Conditions (b) and (c) of Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 and any other laws specifying the limitation period(s) for commencing proceedings, and the outer limits (within which a court or arbitral tribunal may condone a delay) and finish procedures.
We have made this order in the exercise of our powers under Article 142 read in Article 141 of the Constitution of India. Hence it is a binding order within the meaning of Article 141 regarding all courts/judicial bodies and authorities.”
This has led to confusion as to the knowledge of the aforementioned extract under the Goods and Services Tax Law. Hence, CG hereby states itself as follows:
The issue of extending the limitation period under Section 168A of the CGST Act 2017 was discussed at the 43rd meeting of the GST Board. The Council, while making many facilities in compliance with the taxpayers, recommended that wherever the timetables of proceedings have been extended by the esteemed Supreme Court, the same shall apply.
Accordingly, a legal opinion has been sought regarding the applicability of the order of the esteemed Supreme Court to the time constraints under the Goods and Services Tax Act. The following shall be taken into account according to the legal opinion:-
- The extension granted by order of the esteemed Supreme Court applies only to quasi-judicial and judicial matters relating to petitions/requests/suits/appeals/all other proceedings. All other actions must be understood in the nature of the expressions used previously but can be quasi-judicial proceedings. The Honorable Supreme Court has intervened in granting extensions only in relation to judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings in the nature of appeals/suits/petitions etc. and has It does not extend to every measure or procedure under the CGST.
- For the purpose of calculating the limitation period(s) for filing appeals to any appellate authority under the GST Act, the restriction shall continue until further orders pursuant to the order of the Honorable Supreme Court in Suo Moto Writ (Civil) Petition 3 of 2020 by video order dated April 27, 2021. Thus, as in history, the esteemed Supreme Court orders apply to appeals, revisions, revisions, etc., and not to the original judgment.
- The various orders and extensions of the esteemed Supreme Court apply only to acts and acts of a judicial nature, including the quasi-judicial exercise of power and discretion. Even under this category, the esteemed Supreme Court order applies only to the list which must be pursued within a time frame specified in the relevant statutes.
- Where the proceedings are pending, judicial or quasi-judicial that require that they be heard and disposed of, they cannot be interrupted by these extension orders. These issues shall be adjudicated or adjudicated either physically or by default based on prevailing policies and practices along with instructions if any.
- The following actions like scrutiny of returns, issuance of subpoenas, searches, investigation or investigations and even consequential arrest as per GST law will not be covered by the esteemed Supreme Court ruling.
- With regard to the issuance of notice of reason for show, granting of time for responses and orders of passage, the present orders of the esteemed Supreme Court may not cover them though they are quasi-judicial proceedings where the same has been applied only to matters relating to petitions/requests/suits, etc.
On the basis of legal opinion, it is hereby clear that the various procedures/compliance under GST can be broadly categorized as follows:-
- Actions to be initiated or compliance to be taken by the taxpayer:-
These actions will remain subject only to the legal mechanism and time limit provided / extensions granted by the law itself. Various orders of the esteemed Supreme Court will not apply to the said actions/compliance on the part of the taxpayer.
- Quasi-Judicial Procedures by Tax Authorities:-
Tax authorities can continue to listen to and dispose of proceedings when they perform their functions as a quasi-judicial authority. This may include, among other things, disposal of a refund request, deregistration request, procedures for dismissal of order notices, etc. Likewise, appeals which are still pending may continue to be heard and decided and will also be governed by such extensions of time granted by statutes or notices, if any.
- Appeal by taxpayer/tax authorities against any quasi-judicial order:-
Where any appeal is required to be brought before the Joint/Additional Commissioner (Appeal), Commissioner (Appeal), the Appeals Authority for Prior Judgment, the Court and the various courts against any quasi-judicial order or where a review or correction of any order is required the time line will be extended for the same in accordance with the order of the Supreme Court esteemed.
In other words, the extension of timelines granted by the esteemed Supreme Court by its order of 27.04.2021 applies in respect of any appeal required to be brought before the Joint/Additional Commissioner (Appeal), Commissioner (Appeal), Appeals Authority of Prejudice and Court and Various Courts against any order quasi-judicial or where action is required to review or correct any matter, and does not apply to any other action under GST laws.