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August 23, 2023

Navigating GST Appeals and Resolving Disputes: Unraveling Complexities

Navigating GST Appeals and Resolving Disputes: Unraveling Complexities

What is an Appeal?

An appeal, according to any legal framework, is a formal request made to a higher court or authority with the aim of overturning a decision previously made by a lower court. Appeals come into play when there are legal disputes that need resolution.

What are Disputes?

 Disputes often stem from the obligations set forth by laws, such as tax laws. These obligations can be broadly categorized into two main types: those related to taxes and those linked to procedural matters. Taxpayers are required to adhere to these obligations, and tax officers carry out various activities like audits, examinations, and anti-evasion measures to ensure compliance. However, situations can arise where either the taxpayer or the tax authority perceives non-compliance. When differing viewpoints persist, these situations lead to disputes that require resolution. The initial step in resolving such disputes involves a departmental officer engaging in a quasi-judicial process, resulting in the issuance of an initial order that goes by different names, such as assessment order, adjudication order, or order-in-original.

In the context of the GST Act, the term “adjudicating authority” refers to any entity authorized to issue orders or decisions in line with the Act. Notably, this does not include bodies like the Board, the First Appellate Authority, and the Appellate Tribunal. Consequently, any decision or order made under the Act can be considered an act of “adjudication.” This encompasses actions like cancelling a registration, determining taxes via best judgment assessment, deciding on refund claims, and imposing penalties.

In summary, the appeal process serves as a means for individuals or entities to challenge decisions they find unfavourable or unjust. This process enables a higher-level review of original decisions and provides a means for seeking justice within the legal framework.

Steps of appeals under GST:

Appeal levelOrders passed by….Appeal to ——-Sections of Act
1stAdjudicating AuthorityFirst Appellate Authority107
2ndFirst Appellate AuthorityAppellate Tribunal109,110
3rdAppellate TribunalHigh Court111-116
4thHigh CourtSupreme Court117-118

Is it required to initiate each appeal with both CGST and SGST authorities?

No, it’s not necessary. The Act stipulates that an order passed under CGST will also be considered applicable to SGST. However, if a CGST officer issues an order, any subsequent appeal, review, revision, or rectification related to that order will exclusively fall under the jurisdiction of CGST officers. Similarly, for orders issued by SGST officers, the corresponding appeal, review, revision, or rectification will be handled by the relevant SGST officer.

Guidelines for Filing a GST Appeal:

 To submit an appeal under the GST framework to the Appellate Authority, you can adhere to the procedural instructions provided in this article.

Time Limit for Lodging a GST Appeal:

 An applicant has a window of three months from the date of receiving the disputed order to initiate an appeal before the Appellate Authority. Moreover, the Appellate Authority has the discretion to extend this period by up to one month if they are convinced that there was a valid reason for the delay.

General Regulations for Initiating GST Appeals:

 All appeals must be prepared using the prescribed forms and accompanied by the required fees. The fee comprises the complete sum of tax, interest, fines, fees, and penalties resulting from the challenged order, as acknowledged by the appellant, along with an additional 10% of the disputed amount. However, if an officer or the GST Commissioner is the one appealing, no fees will be applicable.

Can an Authorized Representative Appear in Court?

 Indeed, an authorized representative is eligible to appear on behalf of an individual who is required to present themselves before a GST Officer, First Appellate Authority, or Appellate Tribunal, unless personal appearance is mandated by the Act. An authorized representative can be:

  • A relative
  • A regular employee
  • A lawyer practicing in any Indian court
  • A chartered accountant, cost accountant, or company secretary with a valid certificate of practice
  • A retired officer of the Tax Department or Excise Department with a minimum rank of Group-B gazetted officer
  • A tax return preparer  

However, a retired officer cannot act as an authorized representative for the concerned person within one year from their retirement.

Situations Where an Appeal Cannot Be Initiated:

 The Board or the State Government, upon the recommendation of the Council, can establish monetary thresholds for appeals by GST officers to streamline the appeal process and minimize unnecessary litigation expenses. Nevertheless, there are specific circumstances where appeals cannot be lodged against decisions made by a GST officer, including:

  • Orders transferring proceedings from one officer to another
  • Orders pertaining to the seizure or retention of books of account and other documents
  • Orders sanctioning prosecution under the Act
  • Orders allowing payment of tax and other amounts in instalments

A person unhappy with any decision or order passed against him under GST by an adjudicating authority can appeal to the First Appellate Authority If they are not happy with the decision of the First Appellate Authority they can appeal to the National Appellate Tribunal, then to High Court and finally Supreme Court.

Withdrawal of a GST appeal

During the 48th meeting of the GST Council, a decision was reached to introduce the option of retracting a GST appeal that has already been submitted. This measure aims to reduce the burden of litigations handled by the appellate authorities. As a result, a new addition, Rule 109C, was incorporated into the CGST Rules through Notification No. 26/2022 – Central Tax. Rule 109C specifies that the appellant can initiate a request for the withdrawal of an appeal at any point before the issuance of a show cause notice or an order under Section 107(11), depending on whichever comes earlier. This applies to appeals submitted using either Form GST APL-01 or Form GST APL-03. The application for withdrawal is intended to streamline the process and provide flexibility for appellants.

Navigating GST Appeals and Resolving Disputes: Unraveling Complexities
Navigating GST Appeals and Resolving Disputes: Unraveling Complexities

It’s worth emphasizing that when the final acknowledgment in Form GST APL-02 has been issued, the withdrawal of the appeal necessitates the endorsement of the appellate authority. The appellate authority is obliged to assess the withdrawal application within seven days from the moment it’s submitted by the appellant. Moreover, any new appeal submitted by the appellant following such withdrawal should adhere to the time limits stipulated under Section 107.


The realm of GST appeals and dispute resolution is a critical aspect of the taxation landscape. Understanding the intricacies of the appeal process, the roles of different authorities, and the significance of timely action is essential for businesses and individuals alike. By comprehending the nuances and procedural aspects, taxpayers can ensure a smoother journey through the appeals process, ultimately leading to fair and just resolutions of disputes in the realm of Goods and Services Tax.

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