Directorate of Service Tax conducts inspections of Service Tax work in Central Excise Commissionerates all over the country. Inspections in the past have prompted the Commissionerates to streamline the service tax administration system and to conduct surveys to register all prospective assessees under the tax net. Commissionerates have also been directed to conduct the internal audit of assessees records as per the instructions of the Board. This audit drive has resulted in the augmentation of revenue. Similarly, CERA has brought on record many instances where assessees were either suppressing the value of taxable service or not getting registered under the tax net.
A few Commissionerates have taken up this work seriously and shown commendable results. Some Commission rates have certainly lagged behind in the field of survey work. Many of them being major service tax earning Commission rates. Survey efforts are adversely affected due to non-deployment of adequate manpower and other resources such as vehicles, etc. it is necessary that all available resources and efforts are mobilized by the field formations to register all assesses for optimum service tax realization.
The service tax is envisaged tobe administered on self-assessment basis. Legal provisions for facilitating such self-assessment have been made in the Finance Act, 2001. This underlines the need for strengthening the audit mechanism to prevent tax evasion/avoidance.
As a path breaking experiment in the field of auditing of services tax assessees on selective basis, the Board has directed the field formations in the metro cities of Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi & Kolkata to conduct the audit of service tax records (1999-2000 onwards only) of the leading service providers in the category of advertising, pagers, couriers, CHAs, steamer agents, air travel agents, manpower recruitment agencies, tour operators, credit rating agencies, chartered accountants, real estate agents etc. (16 service categories). Result of these Audits checks are awaited.
The Director General of Audit, Central Board of Excise & Customs New Delhi has published SERVICE TAX AUDIT MANUAL 2003 on 01.10.2003 containing the entire procedure to be followed by the officers of the Department while conducting audit of the Service Tax providers.