In a relief to those facing issues under the GST framework, the GST Council has given its nod to the formation of Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) in four cities of India. The higher judicial forum for businesses means taxpayers will have a platform where they can raise tax disputes if they are not satisfied with appellate authorities or orders from the revisional authorities. The national bench of the appellate tribunal will be set up in Delhi, while three other mega cities of India -- Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai -- will have regional benches, the Economic Times quoted a senior official as saying.
The tribunal, replacing CESTAT (Central Excise and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal), will bring consistency related to rulings, which would serve as legal precedents. Under the newly drafted rule, the appellate tribunal president is qualified for the post only if he/she has served as a Supreme Court or high court judge for minimum five years.
The new forum will be beneficial for businesses as sometimes people are not satisfied with the first-level appellate orders. The availability of second-level appellate forum will give them a platform to raise their objections. Experts suggest the second-level appellate forum will help both assesses and the tax department to resolve legal issues arising out of the new tax framework.
Meanwhile, GST rates for several items were rationalised by the GST Council on July 21, out of which 17 items saw tax rates slashed from 28 per cent to 18 per cent. The GST Council exempted sanitary napkins from the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and reduced the rates of consumer electronics such as TVs, washing machines apart from kitchen appliances. No decision was taken on including petroleum products in the GST regime. The GST Council, however, did cut down the tax rate for ethanol, which is used for blending in petrol and diesel, from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.
(Edited by Manoj Sharma)