- The Finance Ministry notified the constitution of 31 Appellate Tribunals across 28 States and eight Union Territories for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
- The establishment of these tribunals — envisaged at the time of the implementation of the GST regime from July 1, 2017 — got a final clearance from the GST Council recently.
- It was a much-awaited move for industry players, who had been approaching the High Courts and Supreme Court during the past six years.
- The number of pending appeals from taxpayers over central GST levies had spiked sharply to over 14,000.
About GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)
- Section (109) of the Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017 (CGST Act) empowers the Union Government to constitute a GSTAT and its Benches.
- It is a specialized authority to resolve disputes related to GST laws at the appellate level.
- The states had proposed 50 tribunal benches to the GST Council, the Union government had signalled that they would come up in a phased manner, beginning with State capitals and cities with High Court benches.
- The first set of tribunals will become operational sometime between this November and January 2024.
- To start with, Uttar Pradesh will have the highest number of benches of the GST tribunals.
- For the seven northeastern States, one tribunal bench has been proposed in Guwahati, with circuit benches in Aizawl, Agartala and Kohima that will be operationalised depending upon the number of appeals filed by suppliers in respective States.
- The Constitution of GSTATs will expedite the process of adjudication and provide tax certainty especially in recurring litigative issues.
- Ensuring speedier and economic resolution of cases by dedicated and specialized GSTATs will help in bolstering business sentiments and ease of doing business in the country.