Company Secretary to act as GST Practitioner: Pursuant to Section 48 of CGST Act, 2017 read with Rule 83 and 84 of the CGST Rules, 2017 a Company Secretary is eligible for enrolment as a Goods and Service Tax Practitioner. The Company Secretaries are rendering value added services to the trade and industry and acting as extended arms of the regulatory mechanism. In a country like India where the tax regime is complicated and multi-faceted, there is no dearth of opportunities for professionals like Company Secretaries to work towards the massive tax network’s compliance, regulations etc. since they are capable of understanding the dynamic nuances of law and taxation system.
A Company Secretary is well versed in laws subject. There is not even an iota of doubt on their academic knowledge and practical training. Company Secretaries particularly master their understanding in the law subjects. Whether it is in indirect tax laws or the GST law, it will be a smooth ride for a Company Secretary owing to their understanding and expertise in the subject of various laws. The Company Secretaries were already recognized under the previous tax laws and in VAT profiles by various State Governments.
Company Secretaries are recognized as one of the Key Managerial Personnel (KMP) of a company under the Companies Act, 2013. The functions of the Company Secretary as a KMP include reporting and advising the Board about compliance with the provisions of the Companies Act, the rules made there under and other laws applicable to the company which inter-alia include the laws relating to Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Company Secretary to act as GST Practitioner
Authority to represent before the Appellate Authority
Under Section 116 of Central GST Act, 2017 a Company Secretary 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.
The spectrum of GST is wide and most of the industrial and corporate entities are exposed to GST as a service provider, service / goods receiver, importer, exporter of service / goods or otherwise. Since these assessees come from a heterogeneous background (rural, urban, literate, illiterate, corporates, individuals, etc.), importing legal opinions on ticklish issues of tax, interpretation of judicial pronouncements and suggesting the course of action are some of the advisory and consulting services that professional like Company Secretaries could offer for better compliance.
Company Secretaries can play an important role in being an advisor and facilitator for due compliances of laws relating to GST and be an asset to the general business community and corporate world. The Company Secretary can perform the following types of services to clients:-
i) Advisory services or strategic advisor
A Company Secretary can comprehensively interpret the law and provide complete guidance and advisory to the business entities. Company Secretaries are more suited for their services because of their knowledge of laws and good communication skills.
ii) Tax Planning
Company Secretaries are competent to understand the impact of laws and its various alternatives and can be helpful in proper tax planning of GST.
iii) Procedural Compliances
Procedural Compliance includes gst registration, filing of returns, payments of taxes, assessment etc. Since a Company Secretary is already playing the role of a Compliance Officer under various other laws, he can assist in the same under GST also.
iv) Book/Record Keeping
Like any other tax laws, GST would also require proper record keeping and maintaining systematic records of credit of input/input service and its proper utilisation etc. Company Secretaries have competent skills to perform these tasks.
v) Appeals and Representation
A Company Secretary can provide the service of representation with confidence because of practical exposure of appearing before various competent authorities. Because of their legal bent of mind, a Company Secretary can provide better services in the field of appellate work.
Vetting of legal documents and drafting agreements, etc. also requires professional skills. Company Secretary possess acumen in this area and could assist in drafting legal documents like replies to show cause notice, representations at appellate forums, representations before adjudicating authority, opinions and clarifications.
For better administration of new tax regime in the country, it is pertinent to have more and more competent and equipped professionals to facilitate regulators to ensure compliance of various statutes and thus help in achieving this ambitious task. The Company Secretaries, who practice in almost all the branches of law and have a strong accounting background, are competent professionals to handle the regulatory compliance under the GST laws. They are skilled professionals who understand legal, financial and compliance dimensions of business entity comprehensively and will assist in making GST as “Good and Simplified Tax” regime further fuelling the growth of India Inc.
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