SOP for GST Summons and Notices to be Issued by CBIC
To prevent harassment of businesses the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) will so-on come out with a detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) for serving summons and notices under the goods and services tax (GST) regime.
The new SOP would also allow the board to closely monitor the GST probe, including its progress and the line of investigation adopted, which would make officials more accountable and the process more transparent, said the officials.
It was difficult for the department to draw the line in the absence of a clear code of action for officials so far. One official, who did not wish to identify said that they didn’t have any SOP under the GST for summons and notices, and these were two troublesome things. They also added that once there was an SOP in place, they could question any breach.
The official said that the draft was almost final adding that there have been detailed discussions with field formations and stakeholders, including businesses.
There was a surge in the number of tax notices being served by GST officials, summoning CXOs, finance chiefs and even chief executives to be physically present for a hearing in the past few months. Repeated summons were being received by businesses.
The proposed SOP would ensure that there was no overlapping of notices between the central and state jurisdiction said the officials. Businesses have been complaining that sometimes they receive multiple notices on the same issue, making compliance difficult for them, apart from consuming a lot of their time.
Circulars were issued to officials from time to time in this regard by the CBIC.
The tax authorities will be facing action if a taxpayer was forced to make a voluntary payment of tax during a search, and that the recovery of dues shall be following the due legal process after issuance of adjudication order, and not during searches. The field formulations were directed by the board of the same in May.