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Service tax returns not in form
May, 06th 2013

Utter chaos prevails due to a major backlog in service tax returns. The Central Board of Excise and Customs, that introduced the negative list from July 1, 2012, did not think about the service tax return form.

This form was introduced in February 2013, almost 11 months after the the negative list based on service tax rules was implemented. The department which was working on the negative list for a long time, took 11 months to draft and furnish service tax return forms. The initial deadline to file service tax returns for the third quarter of 2012, i.e., July to September 2012, was October 25, 2012. It was not followed due to the faux pas by the CBEC.

“After those forms were redrafted in the last week of February, we were asked to submit our returns by March 25, 2013. The deadline was later extended to April 30. If the department cannot come up with a form within one month of the negative list being introduced based on service tax rules, and one year after it was announced by the government, how do they expect us to submit our ST returns in such a short time?” asked a client Babu Rao during his visit to a commissionerate here.

However, the backlog continues as the new deadline for the quarter from October to December 2012, has reportedly been fixed to August, while dates for the first quarter of 2013 and later are awaited.

Assessees like K. Venkatesh are agitated due to the complicated procedure and inherent ambiguities pertaining to filing ST returns. “There is no update on my returns after I submit it,” he said.
The negative list was introduced to generate more revenue and widen the ambit of service tax payers and remove the earlier doubts and points of contention. However, it has been hurried without proper groundwork.

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