CA Gautam Joshi
The service of transport of goods by road was brought into the service tax net initially under the name “Goods Transport Operators (GTO) Service” with effect from 16-11-1997 (Notification No. 41/97-S.T., dated 5-11-1997). Then we all know the Transport strike and the levy were shifted from truck operators (service provider) to the person who pays freight (service receiver). The name of the service was eventually changed as “Transport of Goods by Road Service” and concept of “Goods Transport Agency (GTA)” was introduced.
ACES initiative has made process of administration simple and transparent. However, there are blunders as well.
Goods Transport Operators (GTO) is no more a service existing. However, while registering through ACES website, an option is provided to select Goods Transport Operators Service (entry number 51) even if the service does not exist at all. Additionally, entry number 117 provides selection of Goods Transport Agency Service (GTA) for registration (which is a correct selection for GTA registration).
The blunder does not end at registration only.
ACES website allows filing returns under the service Goods Transport Operators.
The online phase is very new for both field authorities and assesses.
It has been observed that under various jurisdictions assesses has taken wrong registration under the service “Goods Transport Operators”, paid service tax under the old name and filed returns. No objections are received from field authorities in this regard.
However, since 01-10-2011 returns are required to be filed online. If an assessee is already holding registration which was taken physically then TPIN is provided for migration with the new ACES website. Once the migration has been completed, a link has been sent to assessee’s email id from where all further administrative work can be done online like registration, returns, refunds etc. Unfortunately, ACES migration does not convert the registration taken under “Goods Transport Operators (GTO)” to “Goods Transport Agency (GTA) Service”.
All assessee are advised to change their registration as early as possible under the correct service of “Transport of Goods by Road Service”.
As few days are left in filing returns online, assessee should first file the returns online under the correct service. Doubt may arise if a service is not registered can returns be filed in such situation? Fortunately, ACES allows selecting a service even if it is not registered. Assessee should also file NIL return for Goods Transport Operators service to avoid non-filing of return for registered service.
The entry number 51 i.e. Goods Transport Operators Service should be deleted and all assesses registered under this service should be intimated on their mail id to change their service to “Transport of Goods by Road Service”. This whole correction will help assesees be confident about ACES website.