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AssessmentThis article deals with various kinds of assessments as enshrined in the model GST Law.

Self- Assessment:
Normally every person is required to make self-assessment of his tax dues under the Act and file returns prescribed under section 34 for each tax period and pay his tax liability.

Provisional Assessment:
Section 58 provides that where any of the following situations arise the taxable person request the proper officer in writing, giving reasons, to pay tax on the provisional basis

  1. He is unable to determine the value of goods and/or services.
  2. He is unable to determine the rate of tax applicable.

On receipt of the aforesaid application the proper officer may pass an order allowing payment of tax on provisional basis at such rate or on such value as may be specified by him.

The taxable person is also required to execute a bond in such form as may be prescribed in this behalf and with such surety or security as the proper officer may deem fit, binding the taxable person for payment of the difference between the amount of tax as may be finally assessed and the amount of tax provisionally assessed.

The proper officer is required to pass final assessment order within six months of the communication of provisional assessment order after taking into account the relevant information. The Joint/Additional Commissioner is empowered to extend the time of passing final order by up to six months for relevant reasons to be recorded in writing and Commissioner may extend to such further period as he deems fit.

The taxable person must pay provisionally determined tax dues within last date of return filing or else he will be liable for interest.Where refund is due after the final assessment order he would also be entitled to an interest on such refund as per the provisions of section 50.

Scrutiny of returns:

The provisions related to scrutiny are contained in section 59 of the Act. The provisions relating to scrutiny are similar to existing indirect laws. What is different is that in case the explanation provided by the taxable person in context of his scrutiny is found acceptable, the taxable person shall be informed accordingly and no further action shall be taken in this regard. This would avoid unnecessary harassment for the assessee when the things are formally communicated to him. Under the present scenario there have been multiple instances where the tax officer has backtracked on his words and started penal proceedings just because there is no evidence of his communicating his satisfaction.

In case no satisfactory explanation is furnished within a period of thirty days of being informed by the proper officer or such further period as may be permitted by him or where the taxable person, after accepting the discrepancies, fails to take the corrective measure in his return for the month in which the discrepancy is accepted the proper officer is empowered to start audit, inspection, search and seizure proceedings against the taxable person.

Assessment of non-filers of returns (Best Judgement Assessment):

Where a registered taxable person fails to furnish returns under the provisions of the Act a notice is required to be issued to him within 15 days in FORM GSTR-3A electronically. Where the failure to file return continues even after the notice the proper officer may proceed to assess the tax liability of the said person to the best of his judgement taking into account all the relevant material which is available or which he has gathered and issue an assessment order.Where the taxable person files returns within 30 days of the communication of the best judgement order the best judgement assessment stands withdrawn.

Assessment of unregistered persons (Best Judgement Assessment):

where a taxable person fails to obtain registration even though liable to do so, the proper officer may proceed to assess the tax liability of such taxable person to the best of his judgement for the relevant tax periods and issue an assessment order within a period of five years from the due date for filing of the annual return for the year to which the tax not paid relates.However it is necessary to issue show cause notice and accord an opportunity of being heard to the person against whom the best judgement is proposed to be passed.

Summary assessment in certain special cases (Protective Assessment):

The proper officer may, on any evidence showing a tax liability of a person coming to his notice, with the previous permission of [Additional/Joint Commissioner], proceed to assess the tax liability of such person to protect the interest of revenue and issue an assessment order, if he has sufficient grounds to believe that any delay in doing so will adversely affect the interest of revenue.Where the taxable person to whom the liability pertains is not ascertainable and such liability pertains to supply of goods, the person in charge of such goods shall be deemed to be the taxable person liable to be assessed and pay tax and amount due under this section.

On an application made within thirty days from the date of receipt of order passed by the taxable person or on his own motion, if the Additional/Joint Commissioner considers that such order is erroneous, he may withdraw such order.

ca rishabhkumarThe author practises as a Chartered Accountant under the name and style of Rishabh Kumar Barmecha and Associates and is an expert in auditing, financial investigation, direct and indirect taxation. The author can be reached at rishabhkumarbarmecha@gmail.com or 91 9007909221.
CA Rishabh Kumar Barmecha.

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