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Authorised Representative Under GST
October, 09th 2017

Authorised Representative

Authorised representative means a person who is authorised by a person to appear on his behalf.

Section 2(15) of GST Act, 2017, provides that 'authorised representative' means the representative as referred to in section 116.

As per section 116(1) of the GST Act, 2017, any person who is entitled or required to appear before a GST officer appointed under the Act, or the appellate authority or the appellate tribunal in connection with any proceedings under the Act, may, otherwise than when required under this Act to appear personally for examination on oath or affirmation, subject to the other provisions can appear by an authorised representative.

For this purpose, 'authorised representative' has been defined in the Act itself. Broadly, it includes a relative, a regular employee, an advocate, a chartered accountant, a cost 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 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).

Authorities before whom 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.

Authorised Representative - who can be appointed

As per section 116(2) of the GST Act, 2017, following persons can be appointed as an authorised representative i.e., a person authorised by the person to appear on his behalf:

  1. his relative or regular employee; or
  2. 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; or
  3. any chartered accountant, a cost accountant or a company secretary, who holds a valid certificate of practice and who has not been debarred from practice; or
  4. 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: However, 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; or
  5. any person who has been authorised to act as a goods and services tax practitioner on behalf of the concerned registered person.

Government officers as an authorised representative

Government officers can be appointed as an authorised representative but subject to clause (d) of section 116(2) of the GST Act, 2017 i.e. 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 be appointed as authorised representative.

Provided 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

Persons not qualified to act as an authorised representative

As per section 116(3) of the GST Act, 2017 following person shall not be qualified to act as an authorised representative:

  1. who has been dismissed or removed from government service; or
  2. who is convicted 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 and Services Tax 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
  3. who is found guilty of misconduct by the prescribed authority;
  4. who has been adjudged as an insolvent,

Such disqualification to act as an authorised representative shall operate for the following period:

  • Persons dismissed or removed from government - for all times
  • Persons convicted of specified offences – for all times
  • Insolvent persons – for the period during which the insolvency continues.

As per section 116(4) of GST act, 2017, any person who has been disqualified under the provisions of the State Goods and Services Tax Act (SGST) or the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act (UTGST) shall be deemed to be disqualified under GST Act.

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 enquiry 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.

GST practitioner as an authorised representative

As per section 116(2) (e), any person who has been authorised to act as a GST practitioner on behalf of the registered person can also act as an authorised representative.

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