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GST Law is amended nine hundred times

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GST Law is amended nine hundred times
Ganeshan Kalyani By: Ganeshan Kalyani
November 8, 2022
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CBIC effects the changes in GST Laws by issuing Notification, Circulars etc. The proposal about the change in tax rate or amendment in law viz. Act, Rules etc. are presented in GST Council meeting and after the necessary approval they are made effective by issue of Notifications.

Since the introduction of GST there are number of Notifications, Circular, Order etc. issued by CBIC and are made available for reference in . The notifications, circulars are available for reading online as well as they can be downloaded in PDF for future reference of the taxpayer, tax professional etc. The notifications are also available in Hindi version in addition to English.

The CBIC site snapshot is given below for a glance. This site can be directly visited by clicking on the weblink given above i.e. or from CBIC site.

Visit CBIC site - > GST menu - > Act, Rules, Forms, Notifications, Circulars, Orders, Instructions. This will take you the taxinformation website.

In the taxinformation website under the category option the dropdown contains heading like Central Tax, Central Tax (Rate), Integrated Tax, Integrated Tax (Rate), Union Territory Tax, Union Territory Tax (Rate), Compensation Cess, Compensation Cess (Rate).

Upon selection of the desired category and year the Notification gets filtered in the search table. Similarly from the Circulars menu, Instructions/Guidelines and Order menu the required document can be fetched for reading online as well as can be downloaded in PDF.

As on today (06.11.2022) the total number of Notifications, Circular, Instructions and Order published by CBIC since 2017 is given in table below:

Category - Year 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 Total
Central Tax 75 79 78 95 40 21 388
Central Tax (Rate) 47 30 29 5 22 11 144
Compensation Cess 1 1 1 0 0 1 4
Compensation Cess (Rate) 7 2 3 30 3 0 45
Integrated Tax 12 4 4 6 3 0 29
Integrated Tax (Rate) 50 31 28 5 22 11 147
Union Territory Tax 17 15 2 2 2 4 42
Union Territory Tax (Rate) 11 31 28 5 22 11 108
Total Notifications 220 193 173 148 114 59 907
Circular CGST 27 60 52 14 25 12 190
Circular IGST 2 1 1 0 0 0 4
Compensation Cess 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total Circulars 30 61 53 14 25 12 195
Instruction 1 0 5 3 7 7 23
Orders 11 4 2 1 0 1 19
Total 262 258 233 166 146 79 1144

The above statistics indicates that the GST law got amended by 907 times in last 5 years’ time. The ambiguity in the GST Law is clarified by issuing 195 Circulars. 23 instructions have been issued and 19 orders has been published so far.

Thanks to GST Council and CBIC to amend the GST Laws based on taxpayer representation to ease GST compliance. Some amendments were made by CBIC based on their experience from default taxpayers. Some of the amendments were also made by CBIC on their own to augment tax revenue.

One notification is amended multiple times. For instance GST Rate Notification no. 1/2017-CTR dated 28.06.2017 is amended 20 times since 2017. The first amendment was made vide Notification no. 18/2017-CTR dated 30.06.2017 and last amendment was made vide Notification no. 6/2022-CTR dated 13.07.2022. It is a challenge to keep track of all such amendments.

In CBIC website, all notifications are available online as well as PDF with a foot note in every notification with information about the last amended notification number and the original notification number. With the help of such reference the back track of the amendment can be done. However, there is no hyperlink to navigate between the notifications in CBIC. As such sometime it becomes very difficult to read all the 20 notifications in the above example to find out the applicable GST rate on a particular product. This issue has been catered by dedicated tax website like –  

Tax Management India

and other related websites. 

These website keeps the Notification up to date by incorporating the amendments in the original notification itself in their website. This helps tax professionals, tax payer to read updates in online/offline mode without with ease. 

A tax professional can keep a track of all the notifications and also keep original notification updated. But in practice it would be very difficult as he/she may have to invest time in compliance, assessment related task. Hence, the service of these tax website may be availed to relive oneself from the tracking of the frequent publication of the notifications, circular and focus on tax compliance of the taxpayer.

Apart from the notification, circular issued by Central Govt. there are notification, circular issued by respective State as well. However since the notification issued by States are merely a replication of notification issued by Central Govt. their tracking is not required as such. But assuming if the same is also warranted then the total number of notification, circular etc. issued so far would be 34,320 (1144*30 states). A sea of notifications.

States are required to replicate the Notification issued by Central Govt. but, yet some states have made some changes in the notification. For instance, the threshold limit of e-way bill compliance is Rs.50,000/- as per Central Govt. but States such as Maharashtra, Bihar, Rajasthan have increased the limit to Rs 1,00,000. Such notification need to be tracked separately state wise.

Looking into the number of times the Law is amendment which made compliance complicated it can be said that the GST Law is definitely a Good law but surely it is not a Simple law.


By: Ganeshan Kalyani - November 8, 2022



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