Before which authorities an authorised representative can appear?
A person can appear by an authorised representative in any proceedings under the GST law before the following authorities–
(a) GST officer,
(b) Appellate authority,
(c) Appellate Tribunal.
Who is an Authorised Representative?
Authorised Representative means a person who is authorised by a person to appear on his behalf.Section 2(15) of CGST Act 2017 , provides that the authorised representative means the person representative as referred to in Section 116 of CGST Act.
As per Section 116(1) of CGST Act , any person who is entitled or required to appear before an officer appointed under this Act, or the Appellate Authority or the Appellate Tribunal in connection with any proceedings under this Act, may, otherwise than when required under this Act to appear personally for examination on oath or affirmation, subject to the other provisions of this section, appear by an authorised representative.
The GST law also provides for some disqualifications for an authorised representative such as dismissal from government service, conviction under some specified Acts, insolvency, misconduct, etc. Such orders of disqualification are, however, required to be passed after following the principles of natural justice.
A person is not allowed to appear by an authorised representative when he is required to appear personally for examination on oath or an affirmation (e.g. in case of summons for recording of statement under an oath).
Who can be appointed as an authorised representative?
Section 116(2) of CGST Act has prescribed the list of persons authorised by a person who can act as authorised representatives under the GST Act.The list includes :
- Relative or regular employee;
- an advocate who is entitled to practice in any court in India, and who has not been debarred from practising before any court in India; or
- any chartered accountant, a cost accountant or a company secretary, who holds a certificate of practice and who has not been debarred from practice; or
Can Government officers be appointed as an Authorised Representative for the purpose of this section?
Yes , Section 116(2)(d) of CGST Act states the eligibility criteria for Government officers to act as an authorised representative under GST Act.
A retired officer of the Commercial Tax Department of any State Government or Union territory or of the Board who, during his service under the Government, had worked in a post not below the rank than that of a Group-B Gazetted officer for a period of not less than two years can act as authorised representative.
The above provision is backed by one condition that , such officer shall not be entitled to appear before any proceedings under this Act for a period of one year from the date of his retirement or resignation.
Thus , to summarise Section 116(2)(d) of CGST Act , it can be said that a retired officer of Commercial Tax or any State / Union Territory Government can be an authorised representative only when below mentioned both conditions are being satisfied :
- Such Officer has not worked below the rank than that of a Group - B Gazetted Officer for a period of not less than 2 years and;
- Such officer shall appear before any proceedings only when a period of one year from date of his retirement or resignation has lapsed.
Who are the persons not qualified to act as an authorised representative?
As per Section 116(3) of CGST Act , following persons have been disqualified to act as authorised representative under GST :
- who has been dismissed or removed from Government service; or
- who is convicted of an offence connected with any proceedings under this Act, the SGST Act, the IGST Act or the UTGST Act, or under the existing law or under any of the Acts passed by a State Legislature dealing with the imposition of taxes on sale of goods or supply of goods or services or both; or
- who is found guilty of misconduct by the prescribed authority;
- who has been adjudged as an insolvent
What is the time period for which the persons mentioned in Section 116(3) have been disqualified to act as authorised representative?
The list of persons mentioned in Section 116(3) of CGST Act have been disqualified for the following time period :
- Persons dismissed or removed from the Government : for all times
- Persons convicted of special offences : for all times
- Persons found guilty of misconduct by the prescribed authority : for all times
- Persons adjudged as insolvent : time period during which such insolvency continues.
As per Section 116(4) of CGST Act , a person who has been disqualified under the provisions of the State Goods and Services Tax Act or the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act shall be deemed to be disqualified under this Act
Can a GST Practitioner act as an authorised representative under the GST Law?
As per Section 116(2)(e) of CGST Act , any person who has been authorised to act as a goods and services tax practitioner on behalf of the concerned registered person.
What are the consequences of being found guilty of any misconduct?
As per Rule 116 of GST Rules, 2017 where an authorised representative (other than Advocate/CA/CS/CWA) is found, upon an inquiry into the matter, guilty of misconduct in connection with any proceedings under the Act, the Commissioner may, after providing him an opportunity of being heard, disqualify him from appearing as an authorised representative.