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CBIC Sets One-Year Deadline for Concluding GST Investigations

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has come out with guidelines to be followed in GST investigations, prescribing a one-year deadline for the conclusion of investigations.

As per the instruction dated March 30, 2024, the approval of the Principal Commissioner must be obtained before initiating an investigation. However, in cases involving major multinational corporations, matters already before the GST Council, or such other prescribed circumstances, the prior written approval of the zonal Principal Chief Commissioner would be necessary for initiating any investigation.

If it is found that the DGGI or the State GST Department is simultaneously undertaking a record-based investigation of the same taxpayer but with respect to different subject matters, the Principal Commissioner has to ascertain if only one of the offices can pursue all the subject matters. If the same is not feasible, the Principal Commissioner has to specify the reasons on file.

The guidelines mandate that in initiating investigations pertaining to listed companies, public sector undertakings and other entities specified therein, official letters instead of summons have to be sent to the designated officer of the concerned entity. Such a letter should contain reasons for the investigation, specify the relevant legal provisions, and the period within which the requested details have to be submitted.

It is made clear that the “prior reasoned approval” of the content of the summons, by an officer not below the rank of Deputy or Assistant Commissioner has to be in place. If written permission cannot be obtained for “strictly operational reasons”, the approval accorded can be verbal provided that it is confirmed in writing as soon as possible.

Also, the guidelines state that taxpayers can submit their grievances, with respect to ongoing investigations, to the Additional or Joint Commissioner in charge of the investigation.

 

Date: April 1, 2024