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Unitech gets CEI notice for defaulting on service tax
June, 23rd 2011

The Central Excise Intelligence (CEI) has issued a notice to a leading real estate company, Unitech Limited, for not paying service tax of over Rs 43 crore to the government, for several road maintenance projects.

The notice, demanding the service tax, was sent to the South City office of Unitech in Gurgaon recently. As per the notice, the total service tax liability calculated stands at Rs 43.78 crore and an education cess of around Rs 1.08 crore has also not been paid.

The service tax has been calculated after scrutinizing the company's documents relating to road maintenance projects carried out in different states.

When contacted, the official spokesperson of Unitech Infra, said: "We have received the notice and have lodged an appeal against it with the appellate authorities concerned. The notice was issued based on incorrect information."

The excise department had launched a probe after receiving an intelligence input of irregularities in roads maintenance projects in UP and MP that were undertaken by the real estate giant. The projects under scanner of excise intelligence were funded by the Asian Development Bank.

During the discreet probe, excise intelligence sleuths found out that the company was not paying service tax on the amount received for management, maintenance and repair of roads. After the completion of the probe, a notice was issued, in which the CEI has stated that if Unitech does not appear before the adjudicating officer, then the case will be decided ex parte, on the basis of available records.

The real estate giant has to furnish documents defending its stance to the commissioner of service tax in Delhi.

In the notice, the CEI has also stated that Unitech Limited had suppressed the fact that taxable services like management, maintenance and repair works have been carried out, by not registering these activities with the service tax department. Also, Unitech has not furnished any periodical returns to the service tax department. The officials said that the projects come under the service tax net.

In a circular issued by Central Board of Excise and Customs in 2005, it has clearly been specified that the maintenance activities, including resurfacing, renovation, strengthening, relaying and filing potholes, come under the service tax ambit.

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