Authorised Representative plays a crucial role by appearing as a legal representative of another person in adjudicating proceedings under the GST regime. Section 116 provides qualification,disqualification and other procedures relating to authorised representative which are articulated under this article.
Concept of authorised representative
Authorised Representative is a authorised by a person to appear on his behalf in any proceedings. ‘Authorised Representative’ has been defined in the Goods and Services Act itself. Section 2(15) of the central Goods and services Act ,2017 (hereinafter reffered to as “ the CGST Act”) defines ‘authorised representative’ as representative reffered to in section 116. Broadly, it includes a relative, a regular employee, an advocate, a charted accountant, a company secretary, or any person with prescribed qualifications. It is also provided that indirect tax gazetted officers can appear as authorised representative after one year from retirement.
The GST law also specifies for some disqualification 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 complying the principles of natural justice.
2 . Appearance by authorised representative
Section 116(1) provides that any person can appear by an authorised representative in any proceedings under the Goods and Services regime.By virtue of this, an authorised representative can appear before the following authorities-
1. GST Officers,
2. The Appellate Authority under GST Law,
3.The Appellate Tribunal under GST Law.
However, a person is not allowed to appear by an authorised representative when he is required under the Act to appear personally for examination on oath or affirmation.
3. Persons who can be authorised representative
Section 116(2) places limitation on the persons who may be authorised to represent before the authorities. The following categories of persons are so permitted to act as an authorised representative on his behalf -
Relative or persons regularly employed by the registered person
Relative or regular employee of an registered person who has authorised him to act can be appointed as an authorised representative.
An advocate who is entitled to practice in any court in india, and who has not been debarred from practicing before any court in india, can represent the assessee.
Any charted accountant, a cost accountant or a company secretary who holds a certificate of practice and who has not been debarred from practice, are permitted to act as an authorised representative.
4. Government officers
A retired officer of the Commercial tax department of any State Government or Union territory or of the Board who, during his services 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 be a appointed as an authorised representative.
However, such officer would not be entitledto appear before any proceedings under the GST Act for a period of one year from the date of his retirement or resignation.
5. GST practitioner
A GST practitioner would also be allowed to appear as authorised representative before any officer of department, Appellate Authority or Appellate Tribunal, on behalf of a registered person who has authorised him to be his GST practitioner.
4. Disqualification for acting as an authorised representative
The Disqualifying factors in relation to a person representing the assessee under section 116 are contained in sub-section (3) thereof which are as follows:
1. Who has been dismissed or removed from Government services; or
2. Who is convicated of an offence connected with any proceedings under this Act, the State Goods and Services Tax Act, the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act or the Union Territory Goods ad Services Tax Act, or under the existing law or under any of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act or the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act, or under the existing law or uder 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
3. Who is found guilty of misconduct by the prescribed authority;
4. Who has been adjudged as an insolvent.
Such disqualifications to act as an authorised representative would work for the period as mentioned under-
For all times in case of persons reffered to in clauses (a), (b) and (c); and
For the period during which the insolvency continues in the case of a person reffered to in clause (d).
5. Action for misconduct of an authorised representative
In term of rule 116 of the CGST Act, 2017, where an authorised representative, ( other than those advocate/ CA/ CS/ CWA) is found, upon an enquiry into the matter, guilty of 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.
6. principle of natural justice to be followed
The principle of natural justice has to be observed before any adverse action is going to be observed before any adverse action is going to be taken against the assessee. One of the grant of an opportunity of hearing, oral or in writing,before conclusion is arrived at by the authority exercising their powers.
7. Applicability of SGST Act/ UTGST Act
Any 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 will be deemed to be disqualified under the GST Act as stated under section 161(4) of the CGST Act.
8. Applicability of IGST Act
Section 20 of the IGST stipulates that the provisions of the CGST Act would, mutatis mutandis, apply to integrated tax as they apply in relation to central tax as if these are enacted under this Act. Accordingly, there is no separate provisions regarding authorised representative under the IGST Act, thus, the provision available under the CGST Act, is made applicable to IGST Act.