The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central Government to resolve the technical glitches in the online filing of returns of Goods and Services Tax.
A bench comprising Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat passed the direction while allowing the Centre's application for staying an order passed by the Rajasthan High Court, which had extended the deadline for online filing of GSTR9 & GSTR9C forms in view of the technical problems in GST Network.
The stay was granted on the basis of submission by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that only Rs.200 per day was being charged for filing of late returns beyond February 12. The Solicitor General also assured the bench that the GST authorities, both under the Centre and State, will not invoke any penal powers in that behalf.
Tax Bar Association, which had approached the Rajasthan High Court, submitted that the capacity for online processing of GST applications is extremely limited.
In this context, the bench ordered :
"The applications being far more in number, we direct the petitioner to look into this problem and come out with a solution in accordance with the aforesaid capacity as soon as possible".
On February 5, a bench comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mohanty and Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati had directed that no late fee shall be charged till February 12 2020 for uploading the returns. The last date for submission of GSTR9 in Rajasthan was Janaury 31, which was extended till February 5 in view of the technical problems. The HC ordered that an assessee, who is ready and willing to submit returns, cannot be made to suffer penalty on account of incapacity of the system.
"We are prima facie satisfied that even if an assessees is ready and willing to comply with the statutory duty, so far as filing of returns are concerned, the website appears to be having technical bottlenecks, which appears to limit the opportunity of an assessee from uploading the forms. We also keep in view the fact that the option suggested by the petitioner for submitting their returns on e-mail of a responsible officer has also been turned down by the Union of India".
Last week, the Gauhati High Court had directed the Centre to consider the representations of All India Federation of Tax Practitioners and Tax Bar Association for extension of deadline, taking note of such issues.
Two weeks ago, the Union Finance Ministry had summoned the officials of Infosys, which is offering the technical services for GST portal, to discuss the complaints being reported country wide.
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