CA Gautam Joshi
ACES has started accepting Service Tax (ST-3) returns for the period April to June 2012 revising the earlier forms by removing few bugs. The extended time to file now is till 25th Nov for Apr to Jun 12 ST Returns. Returns for July to September 2012 is still undergoing some structural changes.
Though extended time has been granted, returns are no more half yearly and converted to quarterly period in line with approach to GST. However, is change in period of ST return linear/consistent with current ST Law? I suppose the light shall be glared on existing penal provisions. Section 77 charges penalty on non-filing of returns maximum up to Rs. 20,000/-. In just recent past, this provision was amended from penalty of Rs. 2,000/- to Rs. 20,000/- for a half yearly return and adding fuel to the gravity of penalty, it may be chargeable for a quarterly return now on wards resulting in to person failed to file ST return might be incurring Rs. 80,000/- per year (could be for NIL returns as well. Note :- though there are specific powers to the Superintendent to waive penalty in case of bonafide reasons for non-filing of NIL returns, hardly these provisions are put in practice).
These inconsistency in law can lead to serious financial damage on tax payers and needs close revision by drafting authority.