In the instant case, Bellary City Cable was a provider of a Multi System Operator Service and Advertising Agency Service and these services were brought under purview of Service tax w.e.f. September 10, 2004. The Appellant was not paying Service tax due to unawareness of levy of Service tax on Impugned Services. However, before issue of SCN, the entire amount of tax was paid and before issue of Adjudication Order, interest was also paid. But, the Department levied Penalty under Section 76, 77 and 78 of Finance Act.
The Hon’ble CESTAT Bangalore relying upon the decision in the case of CCE Vs. Muniruddin [2013(31) STR 136 (All.)] held that even ignorance of law can be one of the reasons for invoking erstwhile Section 80 of the Finance Act. Accordingly, penalties imposed under various Sections of the Finance Act were waived.
(Bimal Jain, FCA, FCS, LLB, B.Com (Hons), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)