Registration Process under Punjab VAT Act, 2005 needs to be changed?

Section 21 of Punjab VAT Act, 2005 read with Rules 3,4,5,6 of Punjab VAT Rules provides the process for registration. Second proviso to section 21(3) of Punjab Vat Act, 2005  provides that during the pendency of an application for registration the applicant shall file return and pay the due amount of tax, in the prescribed manner.

Section 21(3) of PVAT Act is being produced herebelow:

“If the designated officer is satisfied that the application for registration is in order, he shall, in accordance with such manner and on payment of such fee, as may be prescribed, register the applicant and grant him a registration certificate in the prescribed form:

Provided that if the designated officer is satisfied that the particulars contained in the application are not correct, or are incomplete or that any evidence or information required for registering the applicant, is not furnished, he may, after necessary inquiry and after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard, reject the application for reasons to be recorded in writing. However, the applicant may submit a fresh application for registration in accordance with the provisions of this Act:

Provided further that during the pendency of an application for registration, he shall file return and pay the due amount of tax, in the prescribed manner.”

Registration certificate is granted after inquiry by the Department which ussualy take some time as a result of which registration certificate is granted after some days of application for registration. Second proviso to section 26(3) requires that during the pendency of application for registration the applicant shall file return and pay due tax in the prescribed manner.

There is no clarification whatsoever from the department about how to file a return without a registration number by a person whose application for registration is pending, especially when efiling of vat returns for all taxable persons has been made mandatory w.e.f quartor ending 31-03-2011.

E-filing of vat returns is not possible without a registration number. Does that mean a person who has applied for registration should file VAT returns manually without a registration number during the time application for registration is pending? This question has not been clarified by Department.

However if going by the order of compulsory efiling, it will be impossible for the  person applying for registration to e-file vat return during pendency of application for registration, since no provisional registration number is granted at the time of making of application hence no efiling can be made in such case.

Thus to comply with the mandate of law as contained in second proviso to section 26(3) it is required that more clarification should come from Department stating how vat return should be filed by a person whose application for registration is pending.

In the era of electronic filing of returns and in view of prospective GST regime it is also required that e-registration for VAT should also be started in Punjab as already in existance in some of the States like Rajasthan etc. and also in Service Tax and Central Excise.Inquiries may be made immidiately after granting provisional registration number as is being done in other states where e-registration is in existance.

A provisional registration number may be granted at the time of application. Such a measure will not only ease the registration process, help in complying with the mandate of law, but also it will encourage more persons to apply for registration.


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