CS Deepak Pratap Singh

In modern and internet age, the boundaries all over world are shrinking day to day. Due to globalisation of international as well as national trade, use of modern technology and the way of doing business has been changed a lot. Every country for its development trying to increase its export and reduce export. The governments are also increasing export of materials and manufactured goods and services to earn foreign exchange. We can trade any part of the world by using internet platforms, while sitting in our offices.

This globalisation and interstate as well as Intra State Trades originated various types of disputes among traders, governments, state governments and international disputes. The main disputes are related to levy, distribution, collection and assessment of taxes among authorises, governments, state governments and business communities.

Hence for smooth implementation of GST in our country it is important to have an inbuilt parallel dispute resolution mechanism assuming various issues in GST regime. Now in international arena two approaches are followed in case of any dispute;

1. There must be dispute resolution mechanism

2. Rather having a dispute resolution mechanism there should be a dispute prevention system.

So dispute prevention is necessary to save time, money, hassle and closure of trade.

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT; Is a process of resolving disputes between parties. Generally all countries have dispute settlement mechanism in their laws to settle disputes between parties. As in the case of Direct taxes CBEC is acting in advisory mode, advising on various matters of disputes, when needed. The advisory notifications of CBEC related to any issue will bind the department but does not bind the other party and the highest appellate authorities. Now all countries, which have adopted GST, have dispute settlement mechanism in their respective GST Laws.

APPROACHES FOR DISPUTE SETTLEMENT MECHANISM;  there are various ways of Settlement of Disputes between the department and the parties some of them are;

  1. Judicial Dispute Resolution mechanism;
  2. GST Dispute Settlement Authority
  3. Extra Judicial Dispute Resolution;
  4. Online Dispute resolution.

1. JUDICIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM; every country has courts, which acts to resolve disputes between the tax authorities and the parties. In India we have first and second appellate authorities inside the department, so that the matters should be considered thoroughly by the revenue. Now in the case of Direct taxes we have Commissioner Appeal as First Appellate Authority and ITAT, Second one. After ITAT we can lodge our complain with High Court and then after Supreme Court of India.

On the same line in GST regime, there are three components i.e. CGST, SGST and IGST and assesses are required to comply and file returns related to all those components. So there should be a proper mechanism in GST also for addressing disputes between parties.

UNITED STATES; the litigation is facilitated by the government within Federal, State and Municipal Courts. The proceedings are very formal and are governed by the rules, such as rules of evidence and procedure, which are established by the legislature. Outcome are decided by impartial judge/ or jury, based on factual questions of the court and the law. The verdict of the courts are neither binding nor advisory, however it is allowed to appeal by the aggrieved parties.

EUROPEAN UNION; VAT dispute settlement mechanism of the EU is the Court of Justice of Europe Union (CJEU).

Its office is in Luxembourg. It consists of two major courts and a specialized court. The institution was originally established in 1952 as a single court called Court of Justice of Europe Union Coal and Steel Communities.

2. GST DISPUTE SETTLEMENT AUTHORITY; 115TH Constitution Amendment Bill, 2011, Article 279B has been inserted in the Constitution of India, which provides for establishment of a Goods and Services Tax Dispute Settlement Authority to adjudicate any dispute or complaint referred to it by a State Government or the Central Government arising out of deviation from any of the recommendations of the Goods and Services Tax Council constituted under Article 279A of the Constitution of India.

122nd Constitutional Amendment Bill; empowers the GST Council to decide the modalities resolving disputes arising out of its recommendations. It is proposed to have a GST-DSA i.e. GST –Dispute Settlement Authority, which are proposed to be amenable only to the Jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India. Now this model has been opposed by various state governments.

3. EXTRA JUDICIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION; this is also known as Alternative Dispute Resolution, this involves Arbitration, Collaborative Law and Mediation. These are processes, which can solve disputes among individuals, business entities, government agencies etc.

ADR generally depends on agreement by the parties to use ADR process, either before or after a dispute has arisen. ADR has experienced steadily increasing acceptance and utilisation because of a perception of greater flexibility, costs below those of traditional litigation and speedy resolution of disputes among other perceived advantages.

4. ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION; in some cases disputes are resolved on line or using digital technology. Online dispute resolution, is a growing field of a growing of dispute resolution, which uses new technologies to solve the disputes. Online Disputes Resolution or ODR also involves the application of traditional dispute resolution method to resolve the disputes which arise online.

DISPUTE PREVENTION MECHANISAM;

1. GST Board/Committee/Council;

2. Guidance Notes on GST;

3. Advance Rulings;

4. Cooperative Compliance;

5. Easy accessibility of information to taxpayers;

6. Exchange of information between states , and

7. Other measures.

(Author can be reached at cs.deepakpsingh@gmail.com)

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