ICIAI Indore Hosts a National Conference Addressing GST Challenges

National ICAI conference
National ICAI conference

The Indore branch of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICIAI) and the GST and Indirect Tax Committee organised a two-day national conference focusing on GST and indirect taxes in Delhi. The conference aimed to discuss and analyse the various aspects of GST law. This included notifications, circulars, clarifications, litigations, tribunals, high court and supreme court judgements, codes of ethics, etc. The conference also provided a platform for sharing best practices, experiences, and suggestions for improving GST law and compliance.

Many CA experts, tax consultants, and businessmen from across the country attended the conference. The speakers included CA S Venkataramani from Bangalore, CA Asim Trivedi from Jaipur, CA Yash Dhadha from Jaipur, CA Kirti Joshi, regional secretary of the ICAI Indore branch, and CA Mousam Rathi, chairman of the ICAI Indore branch.

Six Years of GST: Issues and Challenges

Opening the event, CA Mausam Rath, Chairman of the Indore branch, highlighted the extensive evolution of GST laws over the past six years. He said that more than 1500 notifications, circulars, and clarifications have been issued by the department since GST came into effect.

This has created confusion and complexity for taxpayers, consultants, and officers alike. He said that there are many provisions in the GST law that need to be amended or simplified to make it more user-friendly and transparent.

He emphasised that the department, the CAs, the tax consultants, and the businessmen are all trying their best to understand and comply with the law at their respective levels. However, even after six years, there are some provisions that are difficult to implement or enforce in practice and need some improvement.

Tribunal Overload: A Growing Concern

The event featured CA S. Venkataramani from Bengaluru, who emphasized the significant role played by the High Courts and the Supreme Court in interpreting GST-related judgments. He pointed out that many GST cases have been won not on legal grounds but on a factual basis.

Surprisingly, the GST Appellate Tribunals have not been fully operational even after six years, with over 15,000 cases pending nationwide. This backlog has compelled taxpayers to seek justice directly from the high courts. This has complicated an already strained judicial system.

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He cited some important cases such as Radiant Enterprises vs. Joint Commissioner (Kolkata High Court), Safari Retreats vs. Chief Commissioner (Orissa High Court), Manish Manjul Bhatt vs. Union of India (Gujarat High Court), Mohit Minerals vs. Union of India (Supreme Court), etc. He explained the rationale and implications of these judgements in detail.

Code of ethics for CA: dos and don’ts

The third session was led by CA Asim Trivedi from Jaipur, who talked about the code of ethics for CAs in relation to GST law. He said that many times CAs issue certificates that are not within their scope of authority or competence. This happens either at the request of clients or financial institutions.

He said that this is unethical and unprofessional and can lead to disciplinary action or legal consequences. CAs should avoid certifying the future use of loan amounts, as this goes beyond their scope.

Departmental Notices and Legalities

CA Yash Dhadha, from Jaipur, shed light on the issue of departmental notices. He said that many notices issued by the department are erroneous or unjustified. This is because they do not follow the provisions or interpretations of the GST law correctly.

He reported that the department often issues notices that wrongly demand reverse charges for personal guarantees provided for company loans. He went on to say that these notices are often based on incorrect assumptions, incomplete information, or wrong calculations.

GST Litigation Overview

CA Kirti Joshi, regional secretary of the ICAI Indore branch, presented the last session. She discussed the causes and remedies of ITC-related litigation under GST law. She emphasised that most of the litigation in GST is related to the ITC (input tax credit). This is because it is one of the most complex and contentious issues in GST law.

She said that after the introduction of GST, taxpayers, consultants, and officers did not fully understand its rules and procedures. Now, they are facing scrutiny and an audit based on their past transactions and mistakes. She said that this is unfair and harsh for taxpayers who acted in good faith and in compliance.

She also suggested that some leniency and flexibility should be shown by the department and the judiciary in dealing with ITC-related cases, as they involve human errors and genuine difficulties. Amitesh Jain, another CA, echoed this sentiment, recognising the presence of several senior CAs at the conference.

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