Ministry of Finance has initiated a public debate on the issue of a negative list for taxation of services as announced by the Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee in his Budget 2011. The text of the speech is as below:
“Many experts have argued that it will be desirable to tax services based on a small negative list, so that many untapped sectors are brought into the tax net. Such an approach will be very conducive for a nationwide GST. I propose to initiate an informed public debate on the subject to help us finalise the approach to GST.”
The main issues that are sought to be deliberated in the debate are advantages and disadvantages of a negative vis a vis a positive list, the right approach for India, the international experience of taxation of services based on negative list, important issues arising by moving towards the taxation of services based on negative list, definition of the term “service” and possible list of services that merit to be included in the negative list. Areas that would need to be exempted separately even after moving towards the proposed negative list and the revenue implication of moving towards negative list are also to be deliberated upon.
Major industry federations and confederations like FICCI, ASSOCHAM, PHDCCI & CII and academic institutions like NIPFP have been requested to participate and also anchor the public debate on the subject. All comments and suggestions regarding the issue have been requested by 15th June 2011.
The Directorate General of Service Tax has been appointed as the nodal agency for the in-house debate and consultation on the subject by calling for the comments from field formations. A concept paper on the subject is proposed to be drafted after the feedback from the stakeholders.