Assessment of non-filers of returns – Section 62 of GST
(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in section 73 or section 74, where a registered person fails to furnish the return under section 39 or section 45, even after the service of a notice under section 46, the proper officer may proceed to assess the tax liability of the said person to the best of his judgement taking into account all the relevant material which is available or which he has gathered and issue an assessment order within a period of five years from the date specified under section 44 for furnishing of the annual return for the financial year to which the tax not paid relates.
(2) Where the registered person furnishes a valid return within thirty days of the service of the assessment order under sub-section (1), the said assessment order shall be deemed to have been withdrawn but the liability for payment of interest under sub-section (1) of section 50 or for payment of late fee under section 47 shall continue.
Analysis of Section
Section 62 of the Act can be invoked only in case of registered taxable persons who have failed to file returns, as required, under section 39 or as the case may be, or final return on cancellation of registration under section 45 of the Act. Issuing notice under section 46 appears to be a pre-condition for initiating proceedings under Section 62 of the Act.
Analysis of Provision
Non-compliance with the notice under Section 46 paves the way for initiating the proceedings under this section. If the assessee fails to furnish the return within 15 days of issue of notice under section 46 then the Proper Officer may assess the tax liability in accordance with the provisions of Rule 100 to the best of his judgment, taking into account all the relevant material available on record, and issue an assessment order. This is also known as ‘best judgment assessment’. It can be completed without giving notice of hearing to the assessee.
The order under section 62 must be issued within a period of five years from the date specified under section 44 for furnishing annual return for the financial year to which the tax not paid relates. Section 44(1) states that date for furnishing the annual return is on or before 31st December following the end of such financial year to which such annual return pertains.
Non-issuance of notice under Section 46 closes the door on invoking Section 62 although other provisions are available to recover the tax duesIf, however, a registered person furnishes a ‘valid return’ within 30 days of the service of assessment order, the said assessment order shall be deemed to be withdrawn. ‘Valid return’ is defined in Section 2(117) to mean a return filed under Section 39(1) of the Act on which self-assessed tax has been paid in full.
Section 62 starts with the words ‘notwithstanding anything contrary to section 73 and 74’. Section 73 and 74 mandates issue of SCN and providing opportunity of being heard before passing order demanding tax. Further tax can be demand for a period of five years only if the existence of omissions and commissions mentioned u/s 74 are proved. The pre-condition of issuing SCN, providing opportunity of being heard and demanding tax for a five year period only in the presence of omissions and commissions listed u/s 74 is sought to be overcome by the non-obstante clause u/s 62.Consequence of late fee under Section 47 and interest under Section 50 will both be applicable in cases of conclusion of best judgement assessment made under this Section.
An order passed under this section shall be communicated to the registered person in FORM GST ASMT 13