Strict measures, including prosecution, will be pursued to enforce service tax compliance, said Deepa B Dasgupta, chief commissioner of central excise, customs and service tax, Visakhapatnam zone. "The service tax voluntary compliance encouragement scheme had given an opportunity to assessees to pay their tax dues without any interest or penalty, but many have deliberately avoided the opportunity to do so," she said while addressing a one-day seminar on 'Service Tax - Corporate Compliance' here on Saturday.
"Till now we had a hands-off policy with regard to non-compliance, as this tax is only a decade old. However, now the Act has entered into adulthood from infancy and we have to take a fresh look at it," she said. "The law now enables us to interfere if there is a cause," Dasgupta said, adding that the pursuit of defaulters won't be frivolous.
Elaborating on the consequences of non-compliance, Dasgupta said that although tax management is acceptable, tax evasion is not. "Despite increase in number of services being taxed, creation of 'negative list' in 2012 was a welcome change." With regard to simplification of law, Dasgupta said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST), when brought in, will hopefully simplify the taxation structure.
AU professor A Narasimhan, however, expressed displeasure at the manner in which more services are being added to the service tax net to boost revenue. "Tomorrow even the services rendered by housewives to husbands and children might get taxed," he said. "There is a need to take a re-look in order to simplify the Act," said Narasimhan. K K R Rao of K K R Rao and Associates, the cost accountant firm that organised the seminar, asked the participants to exercise their franchise to elect parliamentarians with proper understanding of taxation and finance.