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Less than 2% of taxpayers served CGST notices: FM

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday firmly asserted that the Centre’s intent was to make GST assessees’ life ‘easier, simpler and less cumbersome’, stressing that criticism about the harassment of taxpayers and excessive notices being sent was misinformed opinion as most of the notices did not stem from the Central GST (CGST) administration.

“I want to reassure the assessees that our intent is to make their life easier, We are working towards less and less compliance and I want to underline the fact on behalf of the CGST that notices are not being sent left, right and centre.. Most often, we are asked why so many notices?” Ms. Sitharaman said.

“Only 1.96% of all active tax assessees have been sent any notice from the Central GST… Of the 58,62,882 active tax payers, just 1,14,939 assessees have been sent notices as of December 31, 2023,” the minister said, adding that States could send their own notices, but that was not something she was getting into.

Meanwhile, the GST Council agreed to waive the interest and penalty on demand notices under Section 73 of the CGST Act, for the period between 2017-18 and 2019-20, provided that taxpayers remit their dues fully by March 2025.

In a recommendation that should find mention in the Finance Bill to be presented with the Union Budget 2024-25 likely next month, the Council also suggested amendments to the CGST Act of 2017 so that the three-month period for filing appeals before the Appellate Tribunal will start from a date notified by the Government. “This will give sufficient time to the taxpayers to file appeal before the Appellate Tribunal in the pending cases,” the Finance Ministry said.

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