I. RATE OF SERVICE TAX:
1) The rate of service tax is being increased from ten per cent. to twelve per cent.
2) Consequent to change in the rate of service tax, changes are also being made in specific and compounding rates of tax for the following:
a) Service in relation to purchase and sale of foreign currency including money changing;
b) Service of promotion, marketing, organizing or in any manner assisting in organizing lottery;
c) Works contract service;
d) Reversal of cenvat credit under rule 6(3)(i).
3) Life insurance service: Where the entire premium is not towards risk cover, the first year’s premium shall be taxed at the rate of three per cent. while subsequent premia shall attract tax at the rate of 1.5 per cent. Availment of full cenvat credit is being allowed.
4) Transport of passengers embarking in India for domestic and international journey by air : The dual rate structure of maximum service tax of Rupees 150 and Rupees 750 in case of economy class travel is being replaced by an ad valorem rate of twelve per cent. with abatement of sixty per cent. subject to the condition that no credit on inputs and capital goods is taken;
[The above changes will be applicable from 01 .04.201 2]
II. INTRODUCTION OF NEGATIVE LIST APPROACH:
A Negative List approach to taxation of services is being introduced vide new sections, namely, 65B, 66B, 66C, 66D, 66E and 66F proposed in Chapter V of the Finance Act, 1994 (please refer clause 143 of the Finance Bill, 2012). The services specified in the ‘Negative List’ (section 66D) shall remain outside the tax net. All other services, except those specifically exempted by the exercise of powers under section 93(1) of the Finance Act, 1994, would thus be chargeable to service tax. Negative list approach to taxation of services shall come into effect from a date to be notified, after the Finance Bill, 2012 receives the assent of the President. For operationalizing the Negative List approach, a number of changes have been proposed in Chapter V of the Finance Act, 1994. Detailed information regarding these changes is being made available as a Guidance Paper, which will be placed in the public domain. The consequential changes in Service Tax Rules, 1994, Service Tax (Determination of Value) Rules, 2006 and Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 also form part of this Guidance Paper. Provisions relating to positive list approach, namely, sections 65, 65A, 66, and 66A currently appearing in Chapter V of the Finance Act, 1994, will cease to operate from a date to be notified later, as and when the negative list approach begins to operate.
To support the negative list approach to taxation of services, draft Place of Provision of Services Rules, 2012 is being proposed. The draft Place of Provision of Services Rules contains principles on the basis of which taxing jurisdiction of a service can be determined. The Place of Provision of Services Rules, 2012 will be notified after (section 66C) the Finance Bill, 2012 receives the assent of the President. When the Place of Provision of Services Rules comes into effect, existing ‘Export of Services Rules, 2005’ and ‘Taxation of Services (Provided from outside India and received in India) Rules, 2006’ will be rescinded.
III. AMENDMENTS IN THE FINANCE ACT, 1994:
Chapter V of the Finance Act, 1994 is being amended:
1) A new section 67A is being inserted to prescribe that the value of taxable service (particularly in the case of import and export of taxable services) and the rate of tax shall be determined in terms of Point of Taxation Rules, 2011.
2) A new section 72A is being inserted to introduce provisions relating to special audit in the service tax law on the lines of section 14A and section 14AA of the Central Excise Act, 1944. Under this newly introduced section, special audit can be ordered under specified circumstances. Consequently, section 14AA is being omitted from section 83.
3) The one-year time limit for issuance of notice for specified category of offences prescribed under section 73(1) of the Finance Act, 1994, is being increased to eighteen months. A new sub-section (1A) is being inserted in section 73 of the Finance Act, 1994 to prescribe that follow-on notices issued on the same grounds need not repeat the grounds but only state the amount of service tax chargeable for the subsequent period. Statement of tax due for the subsequent period, served on the assessee with reference to the earlier demand notice, will be deemed as a notice under section 73(1) of the Finance Act, 1994.
4) Section 83 is being amended to make Settlement Commission provisions applicable to service tax in line with the similar provisions contained in sections 31, 32, 32A to 32P of the Central Excise Act, 1944.
5) Section 83 is being amended to make the revision mechanism prescribed in section 35EE of the Central Excise Act, 1944, applicable to service tax, to the extent possible.
6) Section 85 and section 86 are being amended on the lines of section 35 and 35E of the Central Excise Act so as to harmonize the limitation for filing assessee appeal before Commissioner (Appeals) and revenue appeal before the Tribunal.
7) Section 94(2) is being amended to obtain powers (a) to provide for the manner of compounding and to specify the amount of compounding of offences along the lines of Central Excise (Compounding of Offences) Rules, 2005; (b) to provide for rules for settlement of cases, along the lines of central excise.
[The above changes will come into effect from the date of enactment of the Finance Bill, 2012]
IV. NEW REVERSE CHARGE MECHANISM:
1) Section 68(2) of the Finance Act, 1994 is being amended to put the onus of payment of service tax on reverse charge basis partly on service provider and partly on service receiver. The scheme is proposed to be made applicable on three specific services i.e. hiring of means of transport; construction and man power supply. A notification will be issued after the Finance Bill, 2012 receives the assent of the President, in which the manner and extent of service tax payable by service provider and service receiver in the case of the three services will be specified.
2) Consequent to the above change, suitable amendment is also being made in the concept of ‘person liable to pay’ provided in Rule 2(1)(d) of Service Tax Rules, 1994.
V. RENTING OF IMMOVABLE PROPERTY SERVICE:
Constitutional validity of the levy of service tax on renting of immovable property has been the subject matter of litigation leading to pronouncement of court judgments favorable to revenue, including those of Honourable Delhi High Court and Honourable Supreme Court. Taking an overall view, the Government has decided to waive the penalty for those taxpayers who pay the service tax due on the renting of immovable property service (as on 06.03.2012), in full along with interest. For this purpose, a new section 80A is being inserted in the Finance Act, 1994. This scheme of penalty waiver will be open only for a period of six months from the date of enactment of the Finance Bill, 2012.
VI. RETROSPECTIVE EXEMPTIONS:
1) Vide Notification No.24/2009-ST dated 27.07.2009 service tax on repair of roads is already exempted. Vide section 97 of the Finance Act, 1994, the exemption granted to repair of roads is being extended for the earlier period from 16.06.2005 to 26.07.2009.
2) Management, maintenance or repair service undertaken in relation to non-commercial Government buildings is being exempted from service tax vide section 98, with effect from 16.06.2005 till the new charging section, namely section 66B, comes into force.
3) In the last budget, sub-rule 6A was inserted under rule 6 of the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 to protect the service providers located in the Domestic Tariff Area from the reversal of Cenvat credit, when they supply taxable services under exemption, to the authorized operations of SEZ. The application of sub-rule 6A is being given retrospective effect from 10.02.2006 [clause 144 of the Finance Bill, 2012].
4) Service provided by an association of dyeing units in relation to common effluent treatment plants was exempted from service tax vide Notification No.42/2011-ST dated 25.07.2011. The scope of the exemption is being expanded and the amended notification is being given retrospective effect from 16.06.2005[clause 145 of the Finance Bill, 2012].
[The above retrospective exemptions will come into effect on the date of enactment of the Finance Bill, 2012]
VII. AMENDMENTS IN RULES:
1) Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 is being amended:
(a) Existing rule 5 to be replaced with a new rule to simplify the procedure for refund of unutilized credit on the account of exports;
(b) Credit is being allowed on motor vehicles (except those of heading nos. 8702, 8703, 8704, 8711 and their chassis). The credit of tax paid on the supply of such vehicles on rent, insurance and repair shall also be allowed;
(c) Credit of insurance and service station service is being allowed to—
(i) insurance companies in respect of motor vehicles insured and re-insured by them; and
(ii) manufacturers in respect of motor vehicles manufactured by them.
(d) At present, credit on goods can be taken only after they are brought to the premises of the service provider. Rule 4(1) and 4(2) are being amended to allow a service provider to take credit of inputs or capital goods whenever the goods are delivered to him, subject to specified conditions.
(e) Rule 7 for input service distributors is being amended to provide that credit of service tax attributable to service used wholly in a unit shall be distributed only to that unit and that the credit of service tax attributable to service used in more than one unit shall be distributed prorata on the basis of the turnover of the concerned unit to the sum total of the turnover of all the units to which the service relates.
(f) Rule 9(1)(e) is being amended to allow availment of credit on the tax payment challan in case of payment of service tax by the service receiver on reverse charge basis.
2) Service Tax Rules, 1994 is being amended as follows:
(a) The time period provided in rule 4A for issuance of invoice is being increased to thirty days. For banks and financial institutions providing banking and other financial services, the period shall be forty five days;
(b) Rule 6(4A) is being amended to allow unlimited amount of permissible adjustments.
(c) At present, in the case of export and, individuals and firms rendering eight specified services, the point of taxation is the date of payment subject to certain conditions. This special dispensation is being shifted from the Point of Taxation Rules to the Service Tax Rules.
(d) In case of exporters, the period extended by the Reserve Bank of India on specific requests is also being included in the period for which the tax liability is allowed to be deferred.
(e) The option of deferred payment is being allowed for all service providers rather than for specific services. The facility will be available only to individuals and partnership firms (including limited liability partnership) upto a turnover of taxable services of Rupees Fifty lakhs subject to the condition that their turnover of taxable services in previous year was below Rupees Fifty lakhs. For computing the above limits, the turnover of the whole entity is required to be summed up and not any single registration.
3) Point of Taxation Rules, 2011 is being amended to—
(a) Change the definition of continuous supply of service to capture the entire dimension of the concept, namely, the recurrent nature of services and the obligation for payment periodically or from time-to-time;
(b) Omit rule 6 in respect of continuous supply of service and merge it with rule 3. Rules 4 and 5, which deal with situations covering change in effective rate of tax and taxation of new services, shall now be applicable to continuous supply of services also;
(c) Define the date of payment;
(d) To give an option to determine the point of taxation in respect of advances upto Rupees one thousand received in excess of the amount indicated in the invoice, on the basis of invoice or completion of service rather than payment; and
(e) Incorporate a new residual rule to ascertain point of taxation in cases where the same cannot be ascertained by the rules prescribed.