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Section 16 of the CGST Act- A Comprehensive Overview

Section 16 of the CGST Act- A Comprehensive Overview

One of the goals of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is to prevent the cascading effect of taxes. The Input Tax Credit is part of the GST system to counteract this impact. The term "input tax credit" refers to the reduction of output tax obligations by the amount of input taxes paid. This process aims to prevent taxation of taxes already paid on inputs. Understanding the nuances of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is essential if you own a business in India. Section 16 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act is one of the important clauses to be aware of. Input tax credit (ITC)  is discussed in this section along with the requirements that must be met for a registered person to be eligible to get credit for the GST they have paid on their purchases.


Table of Contents:


What is Section 16 of the CGST Act?

The Input Tax Credit mechanism, which enables the assessee to balance the GST Input Tax Credit with the GST Output Tax Liability, is covered in Section 16 of the CGST ACT 2017. These measures will aid in mitigating the negative tax cascade effect and facilitate a smooth credit flow across the whole supply chain. Businesses must comprehend and abide by Section 16 of the CGST Act to maintain seamless operations and compliance with the GST law. Businesses can efficiently handle their input tax credit claims and steer clear of any potential fines or penalties that may arise from non-compliance by following the guidelines and limitations defined in this section.

Understanding Input Tax Credit

A company can claim an input tax credit (ITC) to offset the GST it has paid on its inputs. Put more simply, you can deduct your tax liability from the amount of GST you get from sales if you have already paid for your purchases. This guarantees that the final consumer will suffer the entire financial cost of the tax and helps prevent the cascading effect of taxes.

Illustration: A company pays Rs 100 for the raw material needed to make its finished product. It is required to pay GST at a specified rate, say 18%, or Rs. 18 in this instance, on such purchases. The tax paid on inputs, also referred to as input tax, is Rs 18. Additionally, it collects various taxes presumptively at a rate of 28% upon selling such a product after value addition, say for Rs 200. It is referred to as the payment of the Rs 56 production tax in this instance. The government must receive the differential tax (output tax liability – input taxes previously paid) for the input tax credit mechanism to be applicable. In this case, the net due amount is only Rs. 38 (rs. 56–18), not the total amount they have collected.


Conditions for Claiming ITC under Section of the CGST Act

A registered person must fulfil the requirements listed in Section 16 of the CGST Act to be eligible to receive an input tax credit. These prerequisites are listed below: 

  • The registered person needs to have a valid tax invoice or debit note from a supplier that is registered under the GST Act to claim ITC.

  • To be eligible for an ITC, the registered individual must have truly received the goods and/or services in question. 

  • Both the recipient's and the supplier's GST returns need to have been submitted. 

  • Within 180 days of the invoice date, the recipient must have given the supplier the consideration for the provision of goods and/or services.

The only person who can claim a credit for tax paid on inward supplies—that is, purchases of goods or services, or both—that are made in the course of conducting business is one who has registered for GST. It means that Input tax credits for the amount of tax paid on inward supply of goods or services, or both, are not available to unregistered suppliers.

Documents Required to Claim ITC

A person, who is registered, including the input service distributor, may claim the input tax credit based on any of the following documentation: 

  • A supplier-issued invoice in compliance with section 31 of the CGST Act 2017

  • A supplier-issued debit note in compliance with section 34 of the same act

  • The recipient's invoice and evidence of payment (obtained from an unregistered individual and in accordance with reverse charging)

  • Any invoice, credit note, or other paperwork that a distributor of input services issues

Documents must include relevant information such as the descriptions and value of goods and services, amount of tax charged, GSTIN of receiver and supplier, and place of supply in case of supply.

Time Limit for Availing of ITC

Section 16 of the CGST Act, 2017 states that a registered person may claim the input tax credit for any debit note or invoice related to the provision of goods or services, or both, prior to:

  • The due date of submitting a return under section 39 of the CGST Act, for the month of September that follows the end of the fiscal year, or

  • The date on which the appropriate annual return must be furnished

Restrictions on ITC under Section 16(2) of the CGST Act

The CGST Act's Section 16(2) enumerates the following limitations on ITC claims: 

  • Goods and services used for personal consumption are not eligible for ITC claims. 

  • Products or services used to create exempt supplies are not eligible for ITC claims. 

  • Goods and services used to make taxable supplies that are exempt from tax under the CGST Act or the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Act are not eligible for ITC claims. 

  • Goods or services used to make a supply for which the supplier has not paid the tax are not eligible for an input tax credit (ITC). 

  • Goods or services used to make supplies for which the recipient has not paid the consideration within 180 days of the invoice date are not eligible for ITC claims. 6. To prevent breaking the law, Section 17(5) must also be reviewed before submitting the GST 3B and claiming the ITC.

Reversal of ITC

According to the second provision of Section 16(2) of the CGST Act, the ITC claimed earlier is reversed in some cases. For instance, the input tax credit needs to be reversed if the taxpayer hasn't paid the supplier for the inputs within 180 days of the invoice date. In a similar vein, the input tax credit has to be reversed if the inputs are used for personal use or are misplaced, destroyed, or stolen.

Consequences of Claiming ITC without Complying with Section 16 of the CGST Act

If a taxpayer submits an Input Tax Credit (ITC) in violation of the Goods and Services Tax Act's Section 16, there could be repercussions. The potential ones include: 

  • Reversal of ITC: If it is determined that the taxpayer has not complied with Section 16's requirements, the tax authorities have the authority to reverse the ITC that the taxpayer has claimed. This implies that in addition to any applicable interest or penalties, the taxpayer will have to repay the ITC that they have already claimed. 

  • Interest and Penalties: The amount of the reversed ITC may be subject to interest payments by the taxpayer. Usually, interest is computed starting on the day that the ITC is accessed and ending on the date that the ITC is reversed. 

  • Audit and scrutiny: If Section 16 is broken, the tax authorities may become involved, which could result in a closer examination and audit of the taxpayer's documents and transactions. This could cost the company more time and effort in addition to perhaps harming its reputation.

  • Reputational Damage: A taxpayer's and their company's reputation may suffer as a result of breaking tax regulations. This may harm their connections with vendors, clients, and other stakeholders, resulting in a decline in confidence and lost commercial prospects.

Exceptions when ITC Cannot be Claimed

In some cases, ITC cannot be claimed on goods and services under the CGST Act. These include:

  • Food and drink, outdoor catering, health services, beauty salon services, and cosmetic and plastic surgery, unless used as a component of taxable as the supply of nature of composite or mixed. 

  • Purchased motor vehicles and other forms of transportation, unless they are utilised to supply them, provide instruction in operating them, transporting people or products, or piloting them/

  • Ride-sharing services, life and health insurance, unless an employer is required to provide these services to its staff

  • Employee travel benefits, such as leave or a concession for domestic travel. 

  • Membership in clubs and health and fitness centres.

  • Contract services for building an immovable property, unless input services are required. 

  • Building real estate on his behalf (including restoration, expansions, repairs, and rebuilding), construction-related goods and services, as well as those utilised to advance business. 

  • Personal consumption of goods and services

  • Goods that are lost, stolen, written off, or given away as gifts or free samples will not qualify for the Input Tax Credit (ITC)

  • No ITC may be claimed by either the dealer or the person who purchased the items from the dealer.


Section 16 of the CGST outlines the Restrictions on ITC and the Time Limits for Claiming ITC, along with the Conditions and Eligibility for Claiming ITC on Goods and Services Received for Business Purposes. It is crucial for registered taxpayers to comprehend the terms of this section to claim the ITC without making any mistakes or incurring penalties.


Q1. What is an input tax credit (ITC)?

A taxpayer may claim an input tax credit (ITC) to offset the taxes paid on purchases of goods and services utilised for business operations.

Q2. What does Section 16 of the CGST Act elaborate on?

The Input Tax Credit scheme, which enables the taxpayer to deduct the Input Tax Credit from the GST Output Tax Liability, is the subject of Section 16.

Q3. What is Section 16(2) of the CGST Act?

According to the second proviso of Section 16(2), if the recipient does not pay the supplier the amount owed for the value of the supply and the tax paid thereon within 180 days, interest will be applied to their output tax liability in addition to the amount of the ITC they were able to claim.

Q4. What is Section 16(4) of the CGST Act?

The prescribed time limit within which a registered taxpayer must submit an input tax credit claim is described in section 16(4) of the CGST Act. Particular conditions or transactions determined the precise moment. The day, on which the annual, quarterly, or monthly return must be filed by the financial year's deadline, whichever comes first.

Q5. What is the recent Judgement of Section 16(4) of the CGST Act?

This clause saw a radical change on October 1, 2022, replacing its original date of October 20, or the deadline for submitting the yearly return by December 31. The revised version sets the deadline for submitting the annual return by December 31st, or by no later than November 30th.

Q6. What happens when the supplier does not file GSTR-1?

The invoice or debit note will not appear in GSTR-2A and GSTR-2B since the recipient will not be eligible for the input tax credit.

Q7. Can ITC be claimed by the purchaser if the seller has not paid the tax to the government?

The authorities' challenge against a Calcutta High Court decision that said that an input tax credit (ITC) to a buyer cannot be refused on the grounds that a supplier has not paid tax under the goods and services tax (GST) regime until a thorough investigation has been conducted has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Q8. Can a taxpayer claim ITC for the taxes paid on goods or services received in a specific financial year but accounted for in the subsequent financial year?

Yes, as long as the invoice or debit note is received by the deadline for filing the GST return for September of the following financial year, the taxpayer is eligible to claim an input tax credit for the taxes paid on goods or services received in one fiscal year but account for in the subsequent financial year.

Q9. What happens if a taxpayer claims an ITC that is not eligible?

A taxpayer will be required to pay the tax, interest, and a penalty equivalent to 100% of the tax amount claimed as an input tax credit if they claim an ineligible input tax credit.

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