Post facto changes in GST Registration: Madras HC quashes penalty imposed for mismatch of address in invoice and RC

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The penalty imposed for mismatch of address in invoice and RC was quashed by the Madras High Court bench of Justice C. Saravanan on the grounds that there was a post facto alteration in GST registration.

The petitioner, a new start-up company, is in the business of research and development on Alage and its utilisation. The petitioner placed a purchase order on October 7, 2021, for the supply of a specialised spray dryer and the parts with M/s. ABV Engineering, Ahmedabad, who had consigned the goods along with the invoice dated February 28, 2202. The goods were accompanied by an E-way Bill.

The vehicle along with the spray dryer were seized by the department on the ground that the address, i.e., No.5/150, South Karumpattor, South Thamaraikulam, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu – 629708, of the consignee was not mentioned in the GST Registration of the petitioner.

The petitioner/assessee has challenged the order of demand for tax and penalty of Rs. 12,46,678 under Section 129 of the CGST Act.

The petitioner submitted that it has entered into a rental agreement with one of the directors of the petitioner company, who is running a proprietary concern at the said premises called “Tvl. Pinnacle Biosciences,” and that the premise has been taken on rent by the petitioner. Post facto, the petitioner has also amended the GST Registration by including the address of the consignee in the GST Registration.

The petitioner submitted that there was no violation of Section 129 of the GST enactments as the transportation by the supplier from Gujarat was accompanied by not only a tax invoice, but also an E-way Bill showing sufferance of tax on the goods transported from Gujarat to the petitioner. The order was not sustainable.

The department contended that the registration profile of the petitioner reveals that one M. Adhi Visvanathan is the Director of the petitioner concern and also the Proprietor of Tvl. Pinnacle Biosciences, having an address at No.5/150, South Karumpattor, South Thamaraikulam, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu – 629708. The place of delivery of the consignment was the business place of Tvl. Pinnacle Biosciences, which was also in the same trade, and thus, there was an attempt to evade tax.

The court noted that the address has been included in the petitioner’s place of business in the GST Registration. Thus, there is a post facto inclusion of the address, which was mentioned in the tax invoice raised by the supplier and in the E-way Bill.

Case Title: Algae Labs Pvt. Ltd. Versus State Tax Officer-I

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