Every assessee must know about the powers of the GST officers as this will help them approach the right officer at the right time. Also, this will help to save their valuable time that they might lose by approaching the wrong GST officer including any wrongful exploitation by the GST officers. Here are some of the major powers of GST officers delegated by the commissioner or additional commissioner:
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 any one’s hand corrupts him absolutely.
Power of Inspection
GST officer can inspect any business place of the taxable person, transporter, business owner, warehouse operator or any other person. But the person inspecting the above shall have written authorization from the officer not be below the rank of Joint Commissioner.
Search and Seizure Power
The GST officer has the power to search and seize any goods if he finds that it will be helpful in any kind of 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
If the commissioner finds that a taxpayer has committed an offence which is punishable under the CGST Act then he may authorize any officer to arrest such person.
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 so as to give evidence or to 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.
Access to 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 officer to carry out an audit, scrutiny and checks to protect the interest of revenue. So as per this, the GST officer can inspect books of account, computers, documents, computer programs or software and other things as he may think necessary, available at such place.
The Chief Commissioner or Commissioner who may 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 taxpayer.
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.
General Power to Make Regulation
The Commissioner has the general power to make regulations as per the Act or rules so as to smoothly carry out the purposes of this Act.
Circumstances that May Require to Exercise the Above Powers of GST Officer
Here is the list of some circumstances under GST that may require the GST officer to exercise their powers:
- Supplies any goods and/or 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/or 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/or services either fully or partially