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Govt set to clarify on transport agents' service tax
July, 21st 2006

The indirect tax department is holding on to its stand that goods transport agents (GTA) can claim abatement in service tax, even for the period when a departmental circular had prohibited it. There are issues coming up for past period due to interpretations. One needs to look at them.

The Comptroller and Auditor General have raised certain objections. We are holding discussions with them. In due case a clarification could be issued, R Sekar, joint secretary, Central Board of Excise and Customs said at an Assocham seminar said.

The CAG has raised objections to GTAs availing of abatement for the period when the Director General (Service Tax) had issued an order suspending availing of abatement by GTAs.

The department is, however, confident that the issue would be resolved soon. The CBEC had issued a clarification, after a DG(ST) order issued last year raked in a huge controversy. The impugned order had said the person receiving a consignment was not entitled to avail of the abatement in service tax.

But a revised CBEC circular overruled it, saying a declaration by the GTA in the consignment note issued, to the effect that neither credit on inputs or capital goods used for provision of service has been taken by them, would suffice.

The service tax regime requires a consignor or a consignee, who is one of the seven specified persons including a factory, company, society, co-operative society, dealer of excisable goods and partnership firm, to pay the service tax on GTA services. The benefit of abatement would be available only if cenvat credit has not been availed by the GTA on inputs or capital goods used for providing such services.

The 75% abatement was being allowed towards fuel, spare parts, toll taxes and local taxes incurred by the transport sector.

Meanwhile, the government has roped in post offices in Delhi for service tax collection from July 1 for convenience of tax payers. The department is hopeful of collections touching the Rs 40,000-crore mark this fiscal, far exceeding the target of Rs 35,000 crore, according to CBEC Chairman V P Singh.

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