Parliament can levy service tax on CAs, architects: SC
August, 23rd 2007
The Supreme Court has held that Parliament is competent to levy service tax on chartered accountants, cost accountants and architects.
"We hold that Parliament has legislative competence to levy service tax by way of impugned Finance Acts of 1994 and 1998 under Entry 97 of List I on chartered accountants, cost accountants and architects," a bench headed by Justice S H Kapadia said while dismissing an appeal filed by All India Federation of Tax Practitioners.
The apex court said service tax was a value-added tax (VAT), which in turn was both a general tax as well as a destination-based consumption tax levied on services provided within the country.
"Service tax is VAT. Just as excise duty is a tax on value addition on goods, service tax is on value addition by rendition of services," the bench stated.
The court classified services under two categories - property-based services and performance-based services. It said the first category would cover service providers such as architects, interior designers, real estate agents and construction services. The second category would cover stock brokers, chartered accountants, cost accountants, security agencies, tour operators, event managers and travel agents among others.