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legal services are to be governed by the reverse charge mechanism

Shanti Prime Publication Pvt. Ltd.

Sec. 25(3) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 — Registration — Reverse charge — One of the central issues that requires to be addressed is whether the impugned Notification No.13/2017 dated 28th and 30th June, 2017 cover all legal services not restricted to representational services rendered by legal practitioners. The ancillary question is whether there is any requirement of registration by legal practitioners and/or firms rendering legal services under the CGST Act or the IGST Act or the DGST Act even if they are earlier registered under the FA? Mr. Mittal has pointed out that under Section 25 (3) of the CGST Act, it is open to a person, though not liable to be registered under Section 22 or Section 24 of the CGST Act to get himself registered voluntarily under the CGST Act. However, Mr. Mittal is clear that as far as he is concerned, he does not wish to be so registered. His concern is that since his registration under the FA continues, by virtue of Section 22 (2) of the CGST Act he is under an obligation to get registered under the CGST Act and thereby be subject to a whole series of legal obligations including having to pay tax on reverse charge basis under Section 9 (4) of the CGST Act and DGST Act and Section 5(4) of the IGST Act. He states that the prevalent uncertainty is causing great inconvenience to him and other legal practitioners in the matter of receiving and rendering services. While disposing the appeal, Delhi High Court held that:- In view of the above submissions it is plain that as of date there is no clarity on whether all legal services (not restricted to representational services) provided by legal practitioners and firms would be governed by the reverse charge mechanism. If in fact all legal services are to be governed by the reverse charge mechanism than there would be no purpose in requiring legal practitioners and law firms to compulsorily get registered under the CGST, IGST and/or DGST Acts. Those seeking voluntary registration would anyway avail of the facility under Section 25 (3) of the CGST Act (and the corresponding provision of the other two statutes). There is therefore prima facie merit in the contention of Mr. Mittal that the legal practitioners are under a genuine doubt whether they require to get themselves registered under the three statutes. In the circumstances, the Court directs that no coercive action be taken against any lawyer or law firms for non-compliance with any legal requirement under the CGST Act, the IGST Act or the DGST Act till a clarification is issued by the Central Government and the GNCTD and till further orders in that regard by this Court. It is clarified that any lawyer or law firm that has been registered under the CGST Act, or the IGST Act or the DGST Act from 1st July, 2017 onwards will not be denied the benefit of such clarification as and when it is issued. It is further clarified that if an appropriate clarification is not able to be issued by the Respondents 1 and 2 by the next date, the Court will proceed to consider passing appropriate interim directions. [2017] 48 TUD 245 (DEL)