GST Act 2017: Section 6 of GST Act 2017 – Authorisation of officers of State tax or Union territory tax as proper officer in certain circumstances. Check out details for GST Section 6 as per CGST Act 2017.
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Section 6 of GST – Authorisation of officers of State tax or Union territory tax as proper officer in certain circumstances
(1) Without prejudice to the provisions of this Act, the officers appointed under the State Goods and Services Tax Act or the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act are authorised to be the proper officers for the purposes of this Act, subject to such conditions as the Government shall, on the recommendations of the Council, by notification, specify.
(2) Subject to the conditions specified in the notification issued under sub-section (1), –
(a) where any proper officer issues an order under this Act, he shall also issue an order under the State Goods and Services Tax Act or the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act, as authorised by the State Goods and Services Tax Act or the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act, as the case may be, under intimation to the jurisdictional officer of State tax or Union territory tax;
(b) where a proper officer under the State Goods and Services Tax Act or the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act has initiated any proceedings on a subject matter, no proceedings shall be initiated by the proper officer under this Act on the same subject matter.
(3) Any proceedings for rectification, appeal and revision, wherever applicable, of any order passed by an officer appointed under this Act shall not lie before an officer appointed under the State Goods and Services Tax Act or the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act.
With the similarity of the taxing base, it is necessary to develop a mechanism to avoid duplication of tax administration by officers of Central Tax and by officers of State /UT Tax.
For the purposes of administration of this act, it is permitted to authorise officers of State/UT Tax to simultaneously also be the officer of Central Tax. It is interesting to note that officers of State/UT Tax do not relinquish their authority but accept additional authority as officers of Central Tax. However, to do so requires the recommendations of the Council and adherence to the conditions that the government may impose in this regard.
In order to establish non-overlapping of administrative power, it is provided that an officer in respect of central tax is required to duly exercise his authority even in respect of State/UT Tax where the executive action is in respect of the same taxing base. In so doing, the officer of central tax is required to intimate the officer of State/UT Tax in respect of all his actions. Further administrative power has been invoked by the officer of the State/UT Tax in any proceeding, such action will preclude the officer of central tax from exercising any administrative power in respect of transactions covered by the said proceedings.
The officer who has exercised administrative power in any proceeding will continue to be the forum to entertain appeal, rectification or revision in respect of that matter until it is concluded. Surely, this will not result in competition for tax administration enable clear and unambiguous jurisdiction in respect of each proceeding. Industry will closely examine who will exercise administrative power without causing duplication in appearing before tax administration for GST compliance.
Please note that this provision enabling mutual allocation of administrative power between officers of central tax and officers of State/UT Tax opens with the words “Without prejudice ….”. As such the provisions conferring power to officers of central tax will not be in derogation of the provisions enabling its mutual allocation. In other words, there may be duplication of powers in respect of same taxable persons or same issues involving said taxable persons but not simultaneous exercise of these powers over the same matter so as to cause parallel proceedings. The role of the Council in guiding such mutual allocation is paramount as also the conditions that the government is authorised to impose in such an exercise.
It is very important to examine in every GST proceeding whether the officer initiating the said proceedings is vested with the authority so to do. It is not uncommon that officers are conferred the authority after they have initiated the any proceedings. In such a situation, the entire proceedings become illegal and in certain cases cannot be restarted due to supervening circumstances or actions taken.
Acquiescence is an important topic to familiarize ourselves, where a person who is unaware of the lack of authority submits to the proceedings initiated is treated to have acquiesced. Such acquiescence robs the person of the right to subsequently question the lack of authority. A hot contest is on the question of whether acquiescence can furnish legality to a patently illegal action. Tax administration will, however, claim it to be so. This itself requires a careful consideration of the scope of authority being exercised and it does good to raise objections on this issue, if it exists, at the earliest opportunity.
Please note the notifications and circulars referred earlier must be carefully studied to understand the scope and extent as well as limits to the powers conferred. The general rule in section 5(2) that – a superior office is empowered to exercise authority vested with the subordinate – does not hold good in all instances. The notification granting the said power must be examined if the powers are conferred on ‘an officer of certain rank’ or ‘officers below the rank’.
The notifications under section 3 and 5 of CGST Act listed earlier are further detailed in the circulars specifying internal allocation of powers. There are yet other sections where the officers are not notified such as Revisional Authority, Appellate Authority, etc. Care should to take to consider the limits of authority vested under the Act so as not to contaminate proceedings undertaken in the absence of lawful authority.
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