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Introduction: Appeals play a crucial role in resolving legal disputes, providing a mechanism for challenging decisions made by lower authorities. In the context of Goods and Services Tax (GST), understanding the appeals process is vital. This article provides an in-depth guide to the appeals and review mechanism under GST, covering forms, steps, definitions, and key sections.

Detailed Analysis:

Appeal under any law is an application to a higher authority for a reversal of the decision of a lower authority. Appeals arise when there are any legal disputes. Here, we are discussing appeals under GST law.

Here is a summary of the GST appeal form

APL – 01 Appeal to Appellate Authority
APL – 02 Acknowledgment for submission of appeal
APL – 03 Application to the Appellate Authority under sub-section (2) of Section 107
RVN – 01 Notice under section 108
APL – 04 Summary of the demand after issue of order by the Appellate Authority, Revisional Authority, Tribunal or Court
APL – 05 Appeal to the Appellate Tribunal
APL – 06 Cross-objections before the Appellate
Tribunal
APL – 07 Application to the Appellate Tribunal under sub section (3) of Section 112
APL – 08 Appeal to the High Court under section 117

Here is a summary of the GST appeal steps

Appeal level Orders passed by Appeal to Sections
1st Adjudicating Authority First Appellate
Authority
107
2nd First Appellate
Authority
Appellate Tribunal 109 & 110
3rd Appellate Tribunal High Court 111 to 116
4th High Court Supreme Court 117 to 118

Definitions

Adjudicating Authority means, any authority, appointed or authorised to pass any order or decision, but does not include the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, the Revisional Authority, the Authority for Advance Ruling, the Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling, the National Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling, the Appellate Authority, the Appellate Tribunal and the Authority referred to in sub-section (2) of section 171.

Appellate Authority means an authority appointed or authorised to hear appeals as referred to in section 107.

Revisional Authority means an authority appointed or authorised for revision of decision or orders as referred to in section 108.

Section 107 | Appeals to Appellate Authority. (Connected with Rule 108, 109, 109A, 109B, 109C, 112 & 113)

Any person aggrieved by any decision or order passed by an Adjudicating Authority may appeal to Appellate Authority in FORM GST APL-01 with a payment of 10% of the disputed tax as pre-deposit (maximum 25 crores), within three months from the date on which the said decision or order is communicated to such person, and a provisional acknowledgement shall be issued to the appellant immediately.

The Commissioner may, on his own motion, call for and examine the record of any proceedings in which an Adjudicating Authority has passed any decision or order, for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the legality or propriety of the said decision or order and may, by order, direct any officer subordinate to him to apply to the Appellate Authority in FORM GST APL-03 within six months from the date of communication of the said decision or order.

The Appellate Authority may condone delay for a period of maximum of 1 month, if he is satisfied that the taxpayer was prevented by sufficient cause from presenting the appeal within the aforesaid period of three months.

Where the decision or order appealed against is uploaded on the common portal, a final acknowledgment, indicating appeal number, shall be issued in FORM GST APL-02 by the Appellate Authority and the date of issue of the provisional acknowledgment shall be considered as the date of filing of appeal.

Provided that where the decision or order appealed against is not uploaded on the common portal, the appellant shall submit a self-certified copy of the said decision or order within a period of seven days from the date of filing of FORM GST APL-01, and the date of submission of such copy shall be considered as the date of filing of appeal.

For the purposes of this rule, the appeal shall be treated as filed only when the final acknowledgement indicating the appeal number is issued.

Provided that no appeal shall be filed against an order under sub-section (3) of section 129 (Detention, seizure and release of goods and conveyances in transit.), unless a sum equal to twenty-five per cent of the penalty has been paid by the appellant.

The Appellate Authority shall, where it is possible to do so, hear and decide every appeal within a period of one year from the date on which it is filed, and issue a summary of the order in FORM GST APL-04 clearly indicating the final amount of demand confirmed.

Provided that where the issuance of order is stayed by an order of a court or Tribunal, the period of such stay shall be excluded in computing the period of one year.

The appellant may, at any time before issuance of show cause notice under section 107 or before issuance of the order under the said section, whichever is earlier, in respect of any appeal filed in FORM GST APL-01 or FORM GST APL-03, file an application for withdrawal of the said appeal by filing an application in FORM GST APL-01/03W.

Provided that where the final acknowledgment in FORM GST APL-02 has been issued, the withdrawal of the said appeal would be subject to the approval of the Appellate Authority and such application for withdrawal of the appeal shall be decided by the Appellate Authority within seven days of filing of such application.

Provided further that any fresh appeal filed by the appellant pursuant to such withdrawal shall be filed within the time limit specified in section 107, as the case may be.

Section 108 | Powers of Revisional Authority. (Connected with Rule 108, 109, 109A, 109B, 109C, 112 & 113)

Subject to the provisions of section 121 (Non-appealable decisions and orders.) and any rules made thereunder, the Revisional Authority may, on his own motion, or upon information received by him or on request from the Commissioner call for and examine the record of any proceedings, and if he considers that any decision or order passed by any officer subordinate to him is erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interest of revenue and is illegal or improper or has not taken into account certain material facts, whether available at the time of issuance of the said order or not or in consequence of an observation by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, he may, if necessary, stay the operation of such decision or order for such period as he deems fit and after giving the person concerned an opportunity of being heard and after making such further inquiry as may be necessary, pass such order, as he thinks just and proper, including enhancing or modifying or annulling the said decision or order.

The Revisional Authority shall not exercise any power if

(a) the order has been subject to an appeal under section 107 (Appeals to Appellate Authority) or section 112 (Appeals to Appellate Tribunal) or section 117 (Appeal to High Court) or section 118 (Appeal to Supreme Court)

(b) the period (six months) specified section 107 has not yet expired or more than three years have expired after the passing of the decision or order sought to be revised

(c) the order has already been taken for revision under this section at an earlier stage

(d) the order has been passed in exercise of the powers under this section 108

Where the issuance of order is stayed by an order of a court or Tribunal, the period of such stay shall be excluded in computing the period.

Every order passed in revision under this section 108, shall be subject to the provisions of section 113 or section 117 or section 118, be final and binding on the parties.

Where the Revisional Authority decides to pass an order in revision under section 108 , which is likely to affect the person adversely, the Revisional Authority shall serve on him a notice in FORM GST RVN-01 and shall give him a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

Section 109 | Constitution of Appellate Tribunal and Benches thereof.

Section 110 | President and Members of Appellate Tribunal, their qualification, appointment, conditions of service, etc.

Section 111 | Procedure before Appellate Tribunal.

Section 112 | Appeals to Appellate Tribunal. (Connected with Rule 110, 111, 112 & 113)

Any person aggrieved by any decision or order passed under section 107 or under section 108 may appeal to Appellate Tribunal in FORM GST APL-05 with a payment of 20% of the disputed tax as pre-deposit and the amount of tax, interest, fine, fee and penalty arising from the impugned order, in addition to the amount paid under section 107, arising from the said order, as is admitted by him (maximum 25 crores), within three months from the date on which the said decision or order is communicated to such person, and a provisional acknowledgement shall be issued to the appellant immediately.

The Appellate Tribunal may, in its discretion, refuse to admit any such appeal where the tax or input tax credit involved or the difference in tax or input tax credit involved or the amount of fine, fee or penalty determined by such order, does not exceed fifty thousand rupees.

The Commissioner may, on his own motion, call for and examine the record of any proceedings in which an Appellate Authority or Revisional Authority has passed any decision or order, for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the legality or propriety of the said decision or order and may, by order, direct any officer subordinate to him to apply to the Appellate Authority in FORM GST APL-07 within six months from the date of communication of the said decision or order.

A certified copy of the decision or order appealed against shall be submitted to the Appellate Tribunal within a period of seven days from the date of filing of FORM GST APL-05, and a final acknowledgement, indicating the appeal number shall be issued thereafter in FORM GST APL-02 by the Appellate Tribunal, the date of filing of the appeal shall be the date of the issue of the provisional acknowledgement and where the said copy is submitted after seven days, the date of filing of the appeal shall be the date of the submission of such copy.

The party against whom the appeal has been preferred (i.e. the respondent) may, file within 45 days a memorandum of cross-objections that he may not have appealed against such order or any part thereof, in FORM GST APL-06.

For the purposes of this rule, the appeal shall be treated as filed only when the final acknowledgement indicating the appeal number is issued.

The fees for filing of appeal or restoration of appeal shall be one thousand rupees for every one-lakh rupees of tax or input tax credit involved or the difference in tax or input tax credit involved or the amount of fine, fee or penalty determined in the order appealed against, subject to a maximum of twenty-five thousand rupees.

Section 113 | Orders of Appellate Tribunal.

The Appellate Tribunal may, after giving an opportunity of being heard, pass such orders thereon as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or annulling the decision or order appealed against or may refer the case back to the Appellate Authority, or the Revisional Authority or to the original Adjudicating Authority, with such directions as it may think fit, for a fresh adjudication or decision after taking additional evidence, if necessary.

The Appellate Tribunal may, if sufficient cause is shown, at any stage of hearing of an appeal, grant time to the parties or any of them and adjourn the hearing of the appeal for reasons to be recorded in writing. Provided that no such adjournment shall be granted more than three times to a party during hearing of the appeal.

The Appellate Tribunal may amend any order passed by it under sub-section (1) to rectify any error, if such error is noticed by it on its own accord, or is brought to its notice by the commissioner or the other party to the appeal within a period of three months from the date of the order.

Provided that no amendment which has the effect of enhancing an assessment or reducing a refund or input tax credit or otherwise increasing the liability of the other party, shall be made under this sub-section, unless the party has been given an opportunity of being heard.

The Appellate Tribunal shall, as far as possible, hear and decide every appeal within a period of one year from the date on which it is filed, and issue a summary of the order in FORM GST APL-04 clearly indicating the final amount of demand confirmed.

Every order passed in revision under sub-section (1) shall, subject to the provisions of section 113 or section 117 or section 118, be final and binding on the parties.

Section 114 | Financial and administrative powers of President.

The President shall exercise such financial and administrative powers over the Appellate Tribunal as may be prescribed.

Section 115 | Interest on refund of amount paid for admission of appeal.

Where an amount paid by the appellant under section 107 or section 112 as pre-deposit for filing of appeal is required to be refunded consequent to any order, interest at the rate (9%) specified under section 56 shall be payable in respect of such refund from the date of payment of the amount till the date of refund of such amount.

Section 116 | Appearance by authorised representative.

Any person aggrieved by any order passed by Appellate Tribunal may appeal to the High Court in FORM GST APL-08 the High Court may admit such appeal, if it is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law.

Appeal to the High Court shall be filed within a period of one hundred and eighty days from the date on which the aggrieved person receives the order appealed against.

Provided that the High Court may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within such period.

Section 118 | Appeal to Supreme Court.

As per section 118(1), any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court

(a) from any order passed by the Appellate Tribunal

(b) from any judgment or order passed by the High Court in an appeal made under section 117

Section 119 | Sums due to be paid notwithstanding appeal, etc.

Notwithstanding that an appeal has been preferred to the High Court or the Supreme Court, sums due to the Government as a result of an order passed by the Appellate Tribunal or an order passed by the High Court under section 117, as the case may be, shall be payable in accordance with the order so passed.

Section 120 | Appeal not to be filed in certain cases.

The Board may, on the recommendations of the Council, from time to time, issue orders or instructions or directions fixing such monetary limits, as it may deem fit, for the purposes of regulating the filing of appeal.

Section 121 | Non-appealable decisions and orders.

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any provisions of this Act, no appeal shall lie against any decision taken or order passed by an officer if such decision taken or order passed relates to any one or more of the following matters,

(a) an order of the commissioner or other authority empowered to direct transfer of proceedings from one officer to another officer

(b) an order pertaining to the seizure or retention of books of account, register and other documents

(c) an order sanctioning prosecution under this Act

(d) an order passed under section 80 (Payment of tax and other amount in instalments).

Conclusion: Navigating the GST appeals and review mechanism requires a comprehensive understanding of forms, steps, and legal provisions. This guide aims to empower businesses and individuals to effectively utilize the appeals process, ensuring fair resolution of legal disputes related to GST. Staying informed about these mechanisms is crucial for maintaining compliance and addressing legal challenges in the realm of Goods and Services Tax.

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