Tax professionals, bizmen resent notices by Punjab GST dept for old cases

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Tax professionals and businessmen are up in arms against the notices issued by the state GST department for assessment of old cases pertaining to 2013-14 when value added tax (VAT) was in place in the state. The stakeholders are finding it impossible to comply with the deadline for completion of the assessments, which is November 20.

According to businessmen and tax professionals, firstly sending notices for such old period was not justified on part of the department. Secondly, in the wake of coronavirus and lockdown, it has not been possible for them to collect the records from their customers, which needs to be furnished to the department for assessment.

Meanwhile, demanding deferment of the deadline, tax professionals have shot off letters to chief minister Amarinder Singh, financial commissioner (taxation) and excise and taxation commissioner, Punjab.

Bhagat Ram Kaushal, secretary general of Punjab Tax Bar Association (PTBA), said, “The PTBA being the parent body of all tax bar associations of Punjab, it is getting calls from all over the state, stating that the tax officials are pressing hard for finalisation of assessments under the Acts up to November 20, on the pretext that the head office has instructed them to complete the assessments without fail. We want to inform the department that as per department rules, only an assessment under sub section (2) or sub section (3) may be made within six years after the date when the annual statement was filed or due to be filed, which ever is later.”

He said, “Due date for filing VAT 20 for 2013-14 was first extended up to December 10, 2014, which was further extended up to December 15, meaning that the due date for filing of annual statement in form VAT 20 was December 15, 2014, and as such the last date for framing assessment automatically gains time up to December 15 and not November 20. Therefore, the state GST department should immediately defer the assessment of the assessees and fix the last date to be December 15.”

According to Bal Krishan Gupta, president of PTBA, “This issue is highly sensitive for the reason that if any assessing authority proceeds to frame assessment considering the last date as November 20 the assessees shall have to deposit 25% of the additional demand for filing appeal against the said pre-assessed assessment order. Keeping in view these facts and legal position, it is requested that the state GST department chief should inform all assessing authorities of Punjab to take the last date of assessment as December 15 instead of November 20.”

Narinder Bhamra, president of Fastener Manufacturers Association of India,said, “The move of assessment of old cases which are of pre-GST era is illogical and considering the facts that industry has been passing through a very bad phase due to coronavirus and lockdowns. Because of these factors it is not feasible to collect all data required from our customers or our end for completing the assessments. The state GST department should therefore either cancel the orders for assessment or defer the deadline till March 31, 2021.”

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