Q: What to do if GST department officer call me to check my stock and for survey? They dont have right to check my books without taking approve of commissioner ?
Here we have compiled the Power of GST officer to Issue Summon under GST
Video lecture on Summon under GST
Who Can Issue Summon under GST ?
Power to summon persons to give evidence and produce documents
The proper officer under the Act shall have power to summon any person whose attendance he considers necessary either to give evidence or to produce a document or any other thing in any inquiry in the same manner as prescribed in the case of civil court under the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure [section 70(1) of CGST Act 2017 ].
Superintendent of Central Tax has been designated as ‘proper officer’ who is empowered to issue summons- CBE&C circular No. 3/3/2017-GST dated 5-7-2017 [State Government will prescribe ‘proper officer’ for purpose of SGST in the respective State].
Powers of Director General Safeguards to issue summons
The Director General of Safeguards, or an officer authorised by him in this behalf, shall be deemed to be the proper officer to exercise the power to summon any person whose attendance he considers necessary either to give evidence or to produce a document or any other thing under section 70 and shall have power in any inquiry in the same manner, as provided in the case of a civil court under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908).[rule 132 of CGST Rules, 2017 ]
Whether inquiry of GST Officer by way of Summon has any Legal backing ?
Enquiry is judicial proceeding
Every such inquiry under section 70(1) shall be deemed to be a “judicial proceeding” within the meaning of section 193 and section 228 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 [ section 70(2) of CGST Act 2017 ]
What can be summoned under GST ?
A summons to produce documents or other things may be for the production of certain specified documents or things or for the production of all documents or things of a certain description in the possession or under the control of the person summoned. [ Refer [ GST FAQ by CBEC- 2nd Edition. 31.03.2017 ]
What are the responsibilities of the person so summoned?
Ans. A person who is issued summon is legally bound to attend either in person or by an authorized representative and he is bound to state the truth before the officer who has issued the summon upon any subject which is the subject matter of examination and to produce such documents and other things as may be required. [ GST FAQ by CBEC- 2nd Edition. 31.03.2017 ]
What can be the consequences of non- appearance to summons?
Ans. The proceeding before the official who has issued summons is deemed to be a judicial proceeding.
If a person does not appear on the date when summoned without any reasonable justification, he can be prosecuted under section 174 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
- If he absconds to avoid service of summons, he can be prosecuted under section 172 of the IPC and
- in case he does not produce the documents or electronic records required to be produced, he can be prosecuted under section 175 of the IPC.
- In case he gives false evidence, he can be prosecuted under section 193 of the IPC.
- In addition, if a person does not appear before a CGST/ SGST officer who has issued the summon, he is liable to a penalty up to Rs 25,000/- under section 122(3)(d) of CGST/SGST Act
What are the guidelines for issue of summons?
Ans. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance has issued guidelines from time to time to ensure that summons provisions are not misused in the field. Some of the important highlights of these guidelines are given below:
i. summons are to be issued as a last resort where assesses are not co-operating and this section should not be used for the top management;
ii. the language of the summons should not be harsh and legal which causes unnecessary mental stress and embarrassment to the receiver;
iii. summons by Superintendents should be issued after obtaining prior written permission from an officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner with the reasons for issuance of summons to be recorded in writing;
iv. where for operational reasons, it is not possible to obtain such prior written permission, oral/ telephonic permission from such officer must be obtained and the same should be reduced to writing and intimated to the officer according such permission at the earliest opportunity;
v. in all cases, where summons are issued, the officer issuing summons should submit a report or should record a brief of the proceedings in the case file and submit the same to the officer who had authorized the issuance of summons;
vi. senior management officials such as CEO, CFO, General Managers of a large company or a Public Sector Undertaking should not generally be issued summons at the first instance. They should
be summoned only when there are indications in the investigation of their involvement in the decision making process which led to loss of revenue.
Q What are the precautions to be observed while issuing summons?
Ans. The following precautions should generally be observed when summoning a person: –
(i) A summon should not be issued for appearance where it is not justified. The power to summon can be exercised only when there is an inquiry being undertaken and the attendance of the person is considered necessary.
(ii) Normally, summons should not be issued repeatedly. As far as practicable, the statement of the accused or witness should be recorded in minimum number of appearances.
(iii) Respect the time of appearance given in the summons. No person should be made to wait for long hours before his statement is recorded except when it has been decided very consciously as a matter of strategy.
(iv) Preferably, statements should be recorded during office hours; however, an exception could be made regarding time and place of recording statement having regard to the facts in the case.
Q . Are there any class of officers who are required to assist CGST/SGST officers?
Ans. Under section 72 of CGST/SGST Act, the following officers have been empowered and are required to assist CGST/SGST officers in the execution of CGST/SGST Act. The categories specified are as follows:
iv. Officers of State/UT/ Central Government engaged in collection of GST;
v. Officers of State/UT/ Central Government engaged in collection of land revenue;
vi. All village officers;
vii. Any other class of officers as may be notified by the Central/State Government.
Relevant Study Material on GST