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Best Judgement Assessment under GST

Updated on: Apr 5th, 2023


6 min read

In our previous article, we discussed the provisions of self-assessment, provisional assessment and scrutiny assessment under GST. Here, we will cover the rest of the assessments under GST.

Here is a schematic representation of the types of judgements under GST:

assessments under gst

Best Judgement Assessment under GST

In the best judgment assessment, an assessing officer assesses based on his reasoning and using the information available. The assessment will be made without any having any bias. Under GST, best judgement assessment becomes applicable in 2 situations-

  • When a taxable person has not filed a return
  • When a person has not registered for GST even though he is liable to

Assessment of Non-Filers

If the registered taxable person does not file his return (even with a notice) he will be sent a notice u/s 62. If he does not file return, the proper officer will assess the tax liability to the best of his judgement. He will assess on the basis of the available information. Notice of being heard may not be given (different from service tax law). The assessment order will be issued within 5 years from the due date of the annual return.

Filing of Valid Return

If the taxable person files a valid return within 30 days from the above assessment order, then the best judgement assessment order will be withdrawn. Valid return includes return along with payment of all due taxes. However, late fees, penalty, interest will still be payable in best judgement orders.

Amnesty scheme for non-filers 

(Deemed withdrawal of best judgement assessment order) 

As per the CGST notification 06/2023 dated 31st March 2023, non-filers are given an option to file pending returns if they missed the 30 days time limit from date of issue of order if issued on or before 28th February 2023. The fresh time limit to file such pending returns is in between 1st April 2023 to 30th June 2023.

The benefit given to defaulting taxpayers is that such best judgement assessment order shall be withdrawn in the above cases even if an appeal is filed or decided. However, they must file all such pending returns by properly paying taxes, late fee and interest, as applicable, under the law.

Assessment of Unregistered Persons

This is concerning a taxable person who fails to obtain registration even though he is liable to do so. The officer will assess the tax liability for relevant tax periods to the best of his judgement. He can issue assessment order within 5 years from the due date of the annual return for the year when the tax was not paid.

The taxable person will receive a show cause notice and an opportunity of being heard before passing any order.

If it is found that he did not register when he was liable to, then demand and recovery for unpaid tax will commence and the penalty for not registering will also apply. This shows that even unregistered persons will be assessed to keep a check on their eligibility of not registering. It is similar to Maharashtra VAT.

Summary Assessment

This is done when the assessing officer has sufficient grounds to believe any delay in assessing a tax liability can harm the interest of the revenue. To protect the interest of the revenue, he can pass the summary assessment on the basis of evidence of tax liability. The prior permission of Additional/Joint commissioner is required. Summary Assessment means a fast-track assessment based on the return filed by the assessee.  It is completed on a priority basis without the presence of the taxpayer because the delay in such assessments may lead to loss of revenue.

***Summary assessment is usually done in cases of defaulting or absconding taxpayers.

Withdrawal of Summary Assessment

The taxpayer can apply within 30 days from the date of receipt of order. If he proves to the Additional/Joint Commissioner that the order was wrongly passed, then the order will be cancelled. The Additional/Joint Commissioner can on his own, cancel the order if he is of the opinion that it was wrongly passed. Post this, demand and recovery provisions u/s 73 & 74 will be applicable.

*** Often summary assessments are carried out in situations where it is not possible to identify the taxable person concerned in a case of supply of goods. In such cases, the person in charge of the goods will be deemed to be the taxable person. He will be assessed and held liable to pay tax and amount due under summary assessment. This provision is not applicable for services.

Thus, we see that most of the assessment provisions under GST are similar to the current indirect tax system.

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Quick Summary

The article discusses various types of assessments under GST like best judgement assessment for non-filers and unregistered persons, summary assessment, and amnesty scheme for non-filers under CGST. It explains procedures, timelines, and consequences for different scenarios.

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