Background – In terms of Rule 7 of Service Tax Rules, 1994 (‘ST Rules’), every taxpayer has to file half-yearly returns in prescribed form, either electronically or manually. However, in April 2010, Central Board of Excise and Customs (‘CBEC’) had amended ST Rules and made e-filing compulsory for the taxpayers who had paid Service tax amounting to INR Ten Lakh or more (including the amount paid by utilisation of CENVAT credit) in the preceding financial year.
Recent amendment – Recently Notification No 43/ 2011 – Service tax dated 25 August 2011 has been issued by CBEC. As per the Notification, with effect from 1 October 2011, it is mandatory for all the taxpayer, (irrespective of their Service tax liability in the preceding year) to file the Service tax returns electronically. Accordingly, all returns filed on or after 1 October 2011 will be required to be filed electronically. These will not only cover returns due after 1 October 2011 but all returns or revised returns filed for the past periods as well.