29.03.2024: CBIC issues SOP for officials to prevent taxpayer harassment

The Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC) has approved a detailed standard operating procedure for officials of the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) with specific instructions regarding their conduct during tax investigation, summons and searches to improve the ease of doing business and to prevent any incident of harassment to taxpayers.

The six-page detailed SOP mandates officials to stick to Goods and Services Tax (GST) cases within their zonal units for investigation, skip investigation which fall under the ambit of audit and scrutiny and issue summons with specific details of subject of enquiry and clear timelines and not for “vague” and piecemeal information, which can be submitted in written.

In case of questioning and searches, the statement and outcome must be uploaded in the system within four working days.

ET has seen a copy of the letter addressed to the principal directorate general, DGGI.

The apex body for indirect tax also mandates that an investigation must be concluded within a year and issuing any show cause notice should not be delayed after conclusion of investigation.

Last month ET had reported that CBIC is planning to issue a SOP for DGGI investigation after instances of multiple notices, alleged harassment during investigation and frequent summons.

“Divergence from this practice at initial stage must be backed by written reasons,” the CBIC said.

The CBIC has also addressed the menace of multiple notices.

“When, in a case initiated by DGGI, it comes to notice that CGST Zone and/or State GST are also looking at the taxpayer, then the Zonal Unit must dialogue with other investigating office(s) and consider feasibility of one of the offices pursuing all these subject matters with respect to the taxpayer,” the letter says.

In case of investigation with respect to a listed company or PSU or corporation, or government department of agency, the DGGI must send official letters instead of summons to the designated officer of such entity, with the reasons for investigation, the legal provisions therefore, and giving a reasonable time period for submitting their response.

Register Today