Here is some good news for service tax payers. The proposed new service tax return form may make life simpler. The new form ST3, which has been placed for public comments, carries detailed instructions for the taxpayer on how to fill it. The new form has specified that data on exempted services need not be filed.
In the earlier form, there was lack of clarity on whether these details were to be provided by the assesses. The new form makes it clear that the term services exempted mean those which are exempted by notification. Service tax has been one of the fastest-growing component of the Union taxes.
The new purposed form is saral to fill up and leaves no room for confusion, service tax expert J K Mittal said. The proposed form seeks to address a major demand from the industry to make a provision, which will distinguish between arrears of service tax and details of other pending payments. There was no clarity about the period for which the arrears is paid.
The new form is comprehensive. It has brought in fields to enable capturing of data with regard to valuation rules introduced in the budget. The form can capture data on out-of-pocket expenses, Vivek Mishra, tax partner, Ernst & Young said.
However, Mr Mishra said the form has not addressed the fundamental concern, which is allowing accounts for service tax to be maintained on accrual basis. He said that, while this was allowed for other purposes of other taxes, for service it had to be maintained on cash basis. This meant keeping parallel system of accounts.
Also, he said there was no provision for bad debt relief under the service tax. The new form has been brought about to reflect the changes introduced in the budget in the form of valuation provision in the Finance Act and the demand from industry to provide more clarity in the forms. The new form has also incorporated changes in respect of the large taxpayers units.