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Evasions cited for drop in Bengal service tax collections
June, 25th 2007

Rs 2,095-cr target fixed for current fiscal

The Kolkata Service Tax Commissionerate has fixed a collection target of Rs 2,095 crore for 2007-08, over four per cent of the service tax national target of Rs 50,000 crore.

Participating in an interactive session on `Service Tax: Recent Developments,' organised by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, Mr K.R.N. Chary, Commissioner of Service Tax, Kolkata said that the collections in the previous year fell short of the target by Rs 200 crore to Rs 1,500 crore.

The all-India collection in 2006-07 stood at Rs 40,000 crore.

The drop in collections is attributed to several cases of evasion in some services like construction, security agency services, clearing and forwarding and banking and financial services.

Service tax collection notices of over Rs 200 crore are yet to be issued.

Seeking higher voluntary compliance levels, Mr Chary said that informers are entitled to rewards of up to 20 per cent of recoveries.

He added that e-filing of returns last year was very poor - just 16 out of 30,000.

According to him, some 10,000 service providers having works contracts have been identified in West Bengal.

Mailers have been sent to them for registration and payment of service tax.

A works contract, for the purpose of the levy, has been defined to mean a contract where transfer of property in goods involved in the execution of such contract is leviable to tax, if such contract is for the purpose of carrying out erection, commissioning and installation of plant and machinery, equipment or structures.

The composite works contract is now divided into the sales and services components.

Among the new services introduced in the Finance Act 2007 (taking the total to nearly 100) are those related to telecom (various services now brought under one taxable service), mining, services provided with regard to renting of immoveable property other than residential properties and vacant land, for use in the course of business or commerce, asset management, including portfolio management, and design services other than interior decoration and fashion designing.

Informing that a centralised service tax registration mela was being held in the State next month for new services as well as for cancellations, the Commissioner said that the Department's new Web site would be launched soon.

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