GST is a very modern piece of Tax law and procedures. No wonder it comes with very modern, hitherto unforeseen, difficulties.
But there are clear solutions.
First of all we should know that the Departments have established so many ‘GST Seva Kendras’ where one can call or visit to know about his any day-to-day queries. The lists of such ‘Seva Kendras’ is available on the websites of the State Tax departments and on www.cbic.gov.in under ‘GST’ at the Homepage and then under ‘GST HELPDESK’. In fact helpline numbers and email Ids of all types of helpdesks viz. those related to technical issues or system related issues or the portal related issues viz. sign-in/ login/ passwords/ OTPs etc. are given here.
However, the Most Common Difficulty being faced presently is that once an information is submitted to the Department, you cannot amend it just by sending a letter to the Department mentioning that a mistake has occurred. GST Law and Rules do not allow any informal communication. The helpdesks and SevaKendras mentioned cannot do anything here.
We should understand that in GST the interface with the Department is tied to ‘System’ i.e. GSTN (GST Network). But, thankfully, we can continue to do business without GSTN coming in the way! No. There are some exceptions.
Taxpayers having aggregate turnover above Rs.100 Crores during preceding/ previous Financial Year, have to issue their Invoices online. Also there are other exceptions viz. generating E-way Bills at the System for transporting goods in certain cases. We must understand that the doing anything on the system means we are communicating some information to the Department.
So the PROBLEM of the day is how to correct any information that we have passed to the Department on the system.
It is submitted that in most cases there is a provision in the GST Rules to correct the submitted information. ‘Rules’ means how to do things in GST. These cases, for example, are Applications for Registrations, Details of Supplies (GSTR-1/ GSTR-2), Returns (GSTR-3, GSTR-3B), E-Way Bills etc.
However, there are time limits for these corrections. And, note, all the corrections are also to be carried through the ‘system’ only. One cannot escape the information technology (IT) these days. But if we can use our smartphones we can surely do these small things on GST system/ GSTN also.
But BIG-PROBLEM is when the time limit for correction has lapsed due to IT glitches or confusion or due to a very late realisation that mistake had occurred.
In such cases, if there was an IT glitch, that is there was a problem with the system and it was throwing an error message. In such cases the Department/ the GSTN is duty bound to allow a correction, if it has financial implications. One can approach the Nodal Officer of every State if the taxpayer is a State Taxpayer; or the Nodal Officer of the concerned GST & CX Zone of the Central Government (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs – CBIC) if the taxpayer is a Central Taxpayer. As everybody knows, after collapse of Central Excise duty, Service Tax and VAT due to GST having taken over, the erstwhile assessees of these taxes have been distributed amongst the State’s and Centre’s above said Departments and have to approach their own Department. One can find his local jurisdiction office (of the State/ Centre) at www.gst.gov.in. The lists of Central and State Nodal Officers for all the States with their email Ids and phone numbers are given at the website of GST Council https://www.cbec-gst.gov.in/cgst-nodal-officer.html. However, currently, the joint Grievance Committees with both Centre’s and State’s senior officers as members, are under construction in each State.
In case there is no IT glitch of the system or there are no financial or tax implications but the taxpayer feels it should share the mistake with the Department or he feels that records needs to be corrected, or there is any other such problem, he may share his grievance/ problem on https://selfservice.gstsystem.in. On this website one can submit his grievance by selecting from the several main and sub heads of the problems.
Further, it may be that there is serious financial implication involved but we forgot or due to some confusion or due to slow working of the website at the time of attempts made, we could not upload the required information. In such a case there is no remedy under the Rules (simply) because this lapse/ mistake/ omission has not happed due to Department’s mistake. In such case the only remedy is to approach the jurisdictional High Court and file a CWP using Article 226 of the Constitution of India. One should NOTE that Hon’ble High Courts are invariably providing the remedy to the petitioners only where the remedy was already available to ALL under the GST Rules/ Act/ Law but could not be used.
An other approach for remedies for any GST related problem is, approaching the Government through our Trade Associations in those cases where Law is already there or Rules are already there but it is strongly felt that these need amendments – prospectively or retrospectively. We should note that there are provisions/ scope for such amendments ‘in public interest’.
LASTLY, We must not forget that these days almost all the businesses maintain their record electronically. The ‘Rules’ provide that a CORRECTION in even own records has to be by due attestation and the logs of corrections have to be maintained. (‘Tally’ etc. have to improve their softwares).