Powers of GST Officers

Prakash Matre
Prakash Matre at May 13, 2022
Powers of GST Officers

Powers of GST Officers

Every GST taxpayer must know about the powers of the GST officers as this will help them approach the proper officer at the right time. Also, this will help to save the valuable time that they might lose by approaching the wrong GST officer, including any illegal exploitation by the GST officers. It also protects the GST taxpayer from any misguided inquiry and assessment. In this article, we will discuss the powers of officers under GST Act, what are the powers of SGST officers / CGST officers, specific GST superintendent powers, and general powers of GST officers. Here we will also discuss the Power of GST officer delegated by the Commissioner or Additional Commissioner.

Legal Provision

Like powers given to the different officers under the different types of Laws, the GST law also granted specific Power of officers under GST. As per Section 5 of the CGST Act, 2017, GST officers have been given powers that each officer may exercise, subject to the conditions and limitations as may be imposed by the board. It also permits a commissioner to delegate his powers to any other officer who is a subordinate to him. One question that may arise is “what are the powers of SGST officers?. The answer is all powers given under CGST Act shall mutatis mutandis given to the SGST officers under SGST Act, 2017. If we talk about the specific powers of officers under the GST Act, the following are the leading powers of GST officers.

Power of Inspection

The GST officer not below the rank of Joint Commissioner may authorize any proper officer who can inspect any business place of the taxable person, transporter, business owner, warehouse operator, or any other person. But the person reviewing the above shall have written authorization from the officer not be below the rank of Joint Commissioner. They can inspect any GST taxpayer’s premises at any time but with written permission from the officer not below the rank of joint Commissioner. They can inspect their business place, goods and supply, and also transport.

Power of Search and Seizure

The GST officer not below the rank of Joint Commissioner has the power to search and seize any goods if he believes that any goods, documents, or information relevant to the proceedings are hidden or not disclosed after seeking such information. It may also authorize the proper officer to search and seize such goods, documents, information at any place. The GST officers have the power to search and seize any goods or any documents or information which will be helpful for the legal proceedings. It shall be noted that search and seizure can only be carried out by any officer who has authorization from the officer not below the rank of Joint Commissioner.

Power to Arrest

GST officers can arrest the people who do not follow the rules of his law, or if the taxpayer commits any offence, they have the Power to ask for all the documents and evidence of goods/services if necessary. Suppose the Commissioner has reason to believe that a taxpayer has committed an offence that is punishable under the CGST Act. In that case, he may authorize any proper officer to arrest such a person. Provided the detained person should be informed about grounds of arrest and be produced before the magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest.

Power to Summon Persons to Give Evidence and Produce Documents

The commission may authorize any GST officer on his behalf to summon any person whose attendance he considers necessary to give evidence or produce a document or any other thing in any proceedings or inquiry that such officer is carrying out for any of the purposes of this Act.

Power to access Business Premises

The GST officer authorized by the Additional/Joint Commissioner of CGST shall have access to any place of business of a registered taxable person. This Power is given to GST officers to carry out an audit, scrutiny, and checks to protect revenue interest. So as per this, the GST officer can inspect books of accounts, computers, documents, computer programs or software, and other things he may think necessary, available at such places.

Revisional Powers

The Chief Commissioner or Commissioner who may be on Suo-moto or upon information received by him may call for and examine the record of any proceeding. And if he considers that any decision or order passed under this Act by any officer subordinate to him is erroneous may pass an order of inquiry or modify/revise the decision or orders. But before doing so, an opportunity of being heard will be given to such taxpayers.

Power to Enable Officers to Implement the Law

GST officers have various powers within their hands to implement GST in India properly and to reduce tax evasion. But these powers are sometimes misused, and considering this, we can say that absolute power to anyone’s hand corrupts him absolutely.

Power to impose penalty

Under the CGST Act, 2017, if the proper officer believes that the person is liable to a penalty which is not covered by Section 62, 63, 64, 73, 74, 129, 130 of the Act, the proper office may issue an order levying penalty on such person after giving him an opportunity of being heard.

Power to Collect Statistics

The GST officer authorized by the Commissioner may on his behalf collect data if he finds it necessary for the administration of the Act. The authorized may call upon all the concerned taxpayers to furnish all the information relating to GST, such as GST returns. The GST officer authorized by the Commissioner may on his behalf collect data if he finds it necessary for the administration of the Act. The authorized person may call upon all the concerned taxpayers to furnish all the information relating to GST, such as GST returns.

General Powers

Here is the list of some cases under GST that may require the GST officer to exercise their powers:

  • Supplies any goods and services without the issue of any invoice
  • Intentionally declares the description of the supply on the invoice wrongly to evade tax
  • Issues any invoice or bill without supply of goods and services to claim ITC or refund
  • Collects any amount as tax but fails to pay the same to the credit of the appropriate Government beyond a period of 3 months from the date on which such payment becomes due
  • Avails or use Input Tax Credit without actual receipt of goods and services either fully or partially

The above-discussed powers are the critical powers that have been specified under GST Act, and for the GST officers, there are other general powers as well which are conferred on the proper officers. However, it is also crucial that the officers should use such powers judiciously.

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