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Centralised registration for service tax in place
November, 09th 2006

In order to facilitate payment of service tax, the government has put in place a centralised registration system for taxpayers, who provide services from multi locations.For the purpose, the department of revenue amended Service Tax Rules, 1994 to simplify the procedure for service tax.

Thus, a large consultancy organisation can choose to register its billing section in the main office or the place from where the main service is provided, as is convenient.

Centralised registration is granted by the commissioner or the chief commissioner of central excise or DG service tax, depending on the location of premises where centralised billing or accounting system is maintained or the place from where the taxable service is provided.

Service Tax Rules were also amended to extend the facility of centralised registration to any person liable to pay service tax. For example, an importer of services who pays for the service provider abroad can also avail of the new central registration facility.

There is no change in the rules for maintaining records by the service providers. The centralisation is only for payment and the system of audit continues as before.

IIMs & IITs must pay service tax

ANOTHER circular on service tax was issued on November 1 to take the IIMs and IITs off the hook for service tax on placement services before May 1, 2006. However, the issue of charging service tax for the current season after May 2006 has been left to the jurisdiction of the commissioner of excise.

The CBEC is not clear whether IIMs are a manpower supply agency or institutions to provide quality management education in which placement services are provided to interested students as a measure of goodwill by the student bodies themselves. The provision to placement is not a part of the contract with the student nor is providing a job to the graduating student an obligation.

There is no limit on the insults to institutes of national importance by the service tax facilities. At this rate, the transfer and posting department of North Block should be liable to tax for notional value of the services rendered!

IIMs must now maintain detailed records of their phone and Internet bills to set off the expenses charged to companies for supply of students to guest companies. (The individual consumer who buys a mobile card has no set off on the service tax paid on the land line bills. He is the worst sufferer in the oppressive service tax regime).

Distilleries not spared either THE nuisance of service tax is extending its reach to new areas. The latest is a convoluted interpretation of the Excise Act, that says that liquor distilleries are liable to service tax for the activity of distillation. The product of distillation, that is, the liquor, is liable to state excise hence, the Centre can charge separately for the distillation service, says North Block.

The unique interpretation of services in manufacturing is, as of now, only in the form of a draft circular for public comment but the North Block bureaucracy has full intentions of converting the draft into an official circular.

The same activity is being taxed several times from different view points only to extract money. Simultaneously, the department is spending crores on advertisements to educate the assessee to pay service tax as a national duty to providing public goods services. The rule of law should prevail for both assesses as well as the government of the day and hair-splitting to earn revenue should not be allowed.

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