In our previous blogs, we have gone through the various provisions in place for recovery of tax, as well as some special recovery provisions. While these may work seamlessly in a normal scenario, there might be some special cases, where the due amount – tax, interest and penalty – may not be recovered from the taxpayer directly. In our next series of blogs, we will evaluate all such scenarios, and understand who has the liability to pay this due amount. Certain provisions have been defined to address the liability to pay GST which is unpaid, for stakeholders. Let’s see the various scenarios.

Liability to pay GST – For Agent and Principal

If an agent supplies or receives any taxable goods on behalf of his principal, then both the agent and the principal will be liable to pay unpaid GST, jointly and severally. This defines the liability to pay GST for both agents and principal.

Liability of Directors of Private Company

If a private company does not pay its dues, then the directors of the company will become jointly and severally liable for the dues, i.e. there will be some personal liability for directors. In this case, only the directors who were in office during the period when the tax was due, will have the liability to pay GST. However, if a director can prove to the tax commissioner that the non-payment was not due to any negligence or breach of duty due to his part, then he will not be held liable.

Note: Nothing has been specified as such in the GST Act with regards to conversion or transfer of a private company to a public company. However, a rule in this section states, that this provision does not apply when a private company is converted to a public company. Thus, it can be interpreted to mean that this provision does not apply to public limited companies.

Liability of Partners of a Partnership Firm

In a partnership firm, all the partners have unlimited liability. Similarly under GST, the partners of the firm are jointly and severally liable to pay unpaid GST which is due irrespective of any clause in the partnership deed or any other law.

In case of retirement of a partner, the commissioner must be informed of the same by the firm or the retiring partner. This is because, it could be possible that the retiring partner could have the liability to pay GST until the date of his retirement. If any intimation regarding the retirement is not given within 1 month, the retiring partner will continue to face liabilty for unpaid GST, till such an intimation is received by the commissioner.

Liability of Guardians, Trustees, Agents

Liability to pay GST comes into play when any business is conducted by a guardian or trustee or agent on behalf of and for the benefit of a minor or an incapacitated person. In case of any tax amount due, both the guardians or trustees or agents and the beneficiary will be liable to pay under the GST Act, and the due amount may be recovered from both parties. Thus, it is important to understand GST liability of guardians, GST liability of trustees and GST liability of agents, for such scenarios.

Liability of Court of Wards

This scenario is applicable, when the estate of a taxable person owning a business, is under the control of the Court of Wards or the Administrator General or the Official Trustee or any receiver or manager appointed by a court. In such a case, if the business owes any amount under GST, then all entities will be equally held liable, i.e. the Court of Wards, the Administrator General, the Official trustee, any receiver or manager along with the taxable person.

In our next blog, we will understand more about the liability to pay unpaid GST, in case of certain company specific scenarios – such as transfer of business, amalgamation and liquidation.

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