Kanchan Awana

Introduction

Goods and service tax is an indirect tax which has been designed as single tax on the supply of the goods and services or both. A person who is liable to pay tax is bound to follow the number of procedures in complying with provisions of the GST laws. If there is any breach of the procedures than heavy number of penalties can be imposed on them. Laws related to GST are procedure oriented and bound by the procedure. Procedure of registration is considered as the utmost vital part of any tax system. As it plays a crucial role in identification of the persons who pays tax and adds value to the economy[1].

Under the GST law, registration of any business infers obtaining of a unique number from the authorities concerned with the taxation. For the purpose of availing input tax credit for the taxes on inner supplies and collection of tax on the behalf of the government. Without following the procedure of registration, neither tax can be collected from the customers nor any claim can be made. Keeping all these in mind extravagant process has been set for the registered persons. To check evasion of tax, large number of records, returns etc. has been enumerated to regulate supply, transportation and storage etc[2].

 A law which creates a new or recognize an existing right or duty, then it is called substantive in nature. Procedural law is a law which list down the stepwise procedures and methods for the enforcement of rights and duties to obtain a relief. It is distinguished from the law that creates, regulates and defines rights.

Procedural Fairness as a tool of Justice

 It is important to be treated in a procedurally fair and respectful manner for the taxpayers, especially when being committed to pay their share of taxes and feeling identified with the nation. In case of alleged unfair treatment and processes of unfair decision making, taxpayers counterattack paying the whole amount of their taxes due. Procedures of decision making is primarily linked to a procedural justice, in order to obtain equitable outcomes. People desires procedures to be fair because they believe that this would lead to fair distributions. Procedural law provides support to substantial justice. The idea that how people esteem the justice system is knotted more to the alleged fairness of the procedure and how they were treated rather than to the perceived fairness of the result is described by the procedural justice.

The laws of procedure are based on a principle of natural justice that no person shall be left unheard and there should be fairness while delivering a justice to the people. Principle of natural justice is a concept which represents the procedural principles which are developed by the courts and must be followed by the judicial bodies while making any decision which affect the right of a person. Here, justice indicates towards fairness, equality and equity[3]. 

Procedure is but the machinery of the law after, all the channel and the means whereby law is administered and justice reached. It strongly departs from its office when in place of facilitating, it is permitted to obstruct and even extinguished the legal rights, and is thus made to govern when it is ought to subserve.”

All rules of procedure are the handmaid of fairness or justice, they should never be an aid or support denial of justice. Hon’ble Supreme Court observed in UBI v. Naresh Kumar[4] that as far as possible, a substantive right should not be defeated on account of a procedural irregularity which is curable. The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed in Rani Kumar v. Kanchan Devi[5] that the morality of justice at the hands of law troubles a judge’s conscience and points an angry interrogation at the law reformer. Procedural law is not to be a tyrant but a servant, not an obstruction but an aid to justice. Prescriptions of procedural law are the handmaid and not the mistress, a lubricant, not a resistant in the administration of justice.

Salmond has explained in Jurisprudence[6] that though distinction between substantive and procedural law is sharply drawn in theory, there are many rules of procedure, which in their practical operation, are wholly or substantially equivalent to rules of substantive law. 

Role of Procedure in Tax Laws

The role of procedure under tax laws is on diverse foothold. As we have studied that law of taxes does not generate any rights or duties but they only impose obligation or a duty on persons who are liable to pay the amount of tax. Under taxation, procedures are related to the methods of paying the amount of tax to the tax authorities. Thus, procedures which are described in other laws such as Criminal Procedure Code, Civil Procedure Code etc. are not similar to the tax laws. Generally, there are three types of procedural laws which are related to court proceedings, evidence and the lastly is procedure related to the law of limitation. In tax matters procedures of court proceedings and evidence are considered inapplicable., especially in GST laws. The principle of natural justice has to be followed by the tax authorities, in relation to any proceedings in terms of evidence or process. It is mandatory to follow the procedure related to limitation under tax laws.

There are many other reasons for which procedure prescribed in tax laws are preserved as binding. A penalty is imposed whenever there is violation of any procedure laid down under tax laws. But the contravention of any provisions of the CGST Act, or rules, made under it attracts general penalty. If there is an intention to evade the tax then even a prosecution can take place in tax.

Conclusion

In view of the above discussion and judgements, it is concluded that Goods and Service Tax laws are a part of legislation which is procedure oriented. Procedure under tax laws has to be understand in different connotation as there are not the methods which enforce the rights of tax payers or tax collectors. It is very important to follow procedures in taxation laws. The whole assessment of the tax depends upon the following of the procedure by the tax authorities or the tax payers. Violation of such procedures, under the tax laws related to registration, filing the return of invoicing etc. will result into imposition of hefty fines.

[1] IOSR Journal of Business and Management (IOSR-JBM) e-ISSN: 2278-487X, p-ISSN: 2319-7668 PP 10-15 www.iosrjournals.org

[2] https://www.cbic.gov.in/htdocs-cbec/gst/51_GST_Flyer_Chapter1.pdf

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079897/z

[4] AIR 1997 SC 3

[5] (2005) SCC 705: AIR 2005 SC 3304

[6] Salmond on Jurisprudence

Author Bio

Qualification: LL.B / Advocate
Company: N/A
Location: Noida, Uttar Pradesh, IN
Member Since: 10 Jan 2021 | Total Posts: 3

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