LEGAL PROVISIONS OF RECOVERY OF ARREARS OF SERVICE TAX

SECTION 73 of FINANCE ACT, 1994

Recovery of Service tax not levied or paid or short levied or short paid or erroneously refunded –

(1) Where any service tax has not been levied or paid or has been short-levied or short-paid or erroneously refunded, the Central Excise Officer may, within one year from the relevant date, serve notice on the person chargeable with the service tax which has not been levied or paid or which has been short-levied or short-paid or the person to whom such tax refund has erroneously been made, requiring him to show cause why he should not pay the amount specified in the notice :

Provided that where any service tax has not been levied or paid or has been short-levied or short-paid or erroneously refunded by reason of —

(a) fraud; or

(b) collusion; or

(c) wilful mis-statement; or

(d) suppression of facts; or

(e) Contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter or of the rules made there under with intent to evade payment of service tax, by the person chargeable with the service tax or his agent, the provisions of this sub-section shall have effect, as if, for the words “one year”, the words “five years” had been substituted.

Explanation. — Where the service of the notice is stayed by an order of a court, the period of such stay shall be excluded in computing the aforesaid period of one year or five years, as the case may be.

(1A) Where any service tax has not been levied or paid or has been short-levied or short paid or erroneously refunded, by reason of fraud, collusion or any willful mis-statement or suppression of facts, or contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter or the rules made there under, with intent to evade payment of service tax, by such person or his agent, to whom a notice is served under the proviso to sub-section (1) by the Central Excise Officer, such person or agent may pay service tax in full or in part as may be accepted by him, and the interest payable thereon under section 75 and penalty equal to twenty-five per cent. of the service tax specified in the notice or the service tax so accepted by such person within thirty days of the receipt of the notice.

(2) The Central Excise Officer shall, after considering the representation, if any, made by the person on whom notice is served under sub-section (1), determine the amount of service tax due from, or erroneously refunded to, such person (not being in excess of the amount specified in the notice) and thereupon such person shall pay the amount so determined.

Provided that where such person has paid the service tax in full together with interest and penalty under sub-section (1A), the proceedings in respect of such person and other persons to whom notices are served under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be concluded:

Provided further that where such person has paid service tax in part along with interest and penalty under sub-section (1A), the Central Excise Officer shall determine the amount of service tax or interest not being in excess of the amount partly due from such person.”

(3) Where any service tax has not been levied or paid or has been short-levied or short-paid or erroneously refunded, the person chargeable with the service tax, or the person to whom such tax refund has erroneously been made, may pay the amount of such service tax, chargeable or erroneously refunded, on the basis of his own ascertainment thereof, or on the basis of tax ascertained by a Central Excise Officer before service of notice on him under sub-section (1) in respect of such service tax, and inform the Central Excise Officer of such payment in writing, who, on receipt of such information shall not serve any notice under sub-section (1) in respect of the amount so paid :

Provided that the Central Excise Officer may determine the amount of short payment of service tax or erroneously refunded service tax, if any, which in his opinion has not been paid by such person and, then, the Central Excise Officer shall proceed to recover such amount in the manner specified in this section, and the period of “one year” referred to in sub-section (1) shall be counted from the date of receipt of such information of payment.

Explanation. — For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the interest under section 75 shall be payable on the amount paid by the person under this sub-section and also on the amount of short payment of service tax or erroneously refunded service tax, if any, as may be determined by the Central Excise Officer, but for this sub-section.

(4) Nothing contained in sub-section (3) shall apply to a case where any service tax has not been levied or paid or has been short-levied or short-paid or erroneously refunded by reason of —

(a) fraud; or

(b) collusion; or

(c) willful mis-statement; or

(d) suppression of facts; or

(e) contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter or of the rules made there under with intent to evade payment of service tax.

(5) The provisions of sub-section (3) shall not apply to any case where the service tax had become payable or ought to have been paid before the 14th day of May, 2003.

(6) For the purposes of this section, “relevant date” means, —

(i) in the case of taxable service in respect of which service tax has not been levied or paid or has been short-levied or short-paid —

(a) where under the rules made under this Chapter, a periodical return, showing particulars of service tax paid during the period to which the said return relates, is to be filed by an assessee, the date on which such return is so filed;

(b) where no periodical return as aforesaid is filed, the last date on which such return is to be filed under the said rules;

(c) in any other case, the date on which the service tax is to be paid under this Chapter or the rules made there under;

(ii) in a case where the service tax is provisionally assessed under this Chapter or the rules made there under, the date of adjustment of the service tax after the final assessment thereof;

(iii) in a case where any sum, relating to service tax, has erroneously been refunded, the date of such refund.

SECTION 73A . Service Tax collected from any person to be deposited with Central Government:-

(1)  Any person who is liable to pay service tax under the provisions of this Chapter or the rules made there under, and has collected any amount in excess of the service tax assessed or determined and paid on any taxable service under the provisions of this Chapter or the rules made there under from the recipient of taxable service in any manner as representing service tax, shall forthwith pay the amount so collected to the credit of the Central Government.

(2) Where any person who has collected any amount, which is not required to be collected, from any other person, in any manner as representing service tax, such person shall forthwith pay the amount so collected to the credit of the Central Government.

(3) Where any amount is required to be paid to the credit of the Central Government under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) and the same has not been so paid, the Central Excise Officer shall serve, on the person liable to pay such amount, a notice requiring him to show cause why the said amount, as specified in the notice, should not be paid by him to the credit of the Central Government.

(4) The Central Excise Officer shall, after considering the representation, if any, made by the person on whom the notice is served under sub-section (3), determine the amount due from such person, not being in excess of the amount specified in the notice, and thereupon such person shall pay the amount so determined.

(5) The amount paid to the credit of the Central Government under sub-section (1) or subsection (2) or sub-section (4), shall be adjusted against the service tax payable by the person on finalisation of assessment or any other proceeding for determination of service tax relating to the taxable service referred to in sub-section (1).

(6) Where any surplus amount is left after the adjustment under sub-section (5), such amount shall either be credited to the Consumer Welfare Fund referred to in section 1 2C of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or, as the case may be, refunded to the person who has borne the incidence of such amount, in accordance with the provisions of section

1 1B of the said Act and such person may make an application under that section in such cases within six months from the date of the public notice to be issued by the Central Excise Officer for the refund of such surplus amount.

SECTION 73B.

Interest on amount collected in excess?

Where an amount has been collected in excess of the tax assessed or determined and paid for any taxable service under this Chapter or the rules made there under from the recipient of such service, the person who is liable to pay such amount as determined under sub-section (4) of section 73A, shall, in addition to the amount, be liable to pay interest at such rate not below ten per cent. and not exceeding twenty-four per cent. per annum, as is for the time being fixed by the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, from the first day of the month succeeding the month in which the amount ought to have been paid under this Chapter, but for the provisions contained in sub-section (4) of section 73A, till the date of payment of such amount:

Provided that in such cases where the amount becomes payable consequent to issue of an order, instruction or direction by the Board under section 37B of the Central Excise Act, 1944, and such amount payable is voluntarily paid in full, without reserving any right to appeal against such payment at any subsequent stage, within forty-five days from the date of issue of such order, instruction or direction, as the case may be, no interest shall be payable and in other cases, the interest shall be payable on the whole amount, including the amount already paid.

Explanation 1.—Where the amount determined under sub-section (4) of section 73A is reduced by the Commissioner (Appeals), the Appellate Tribunal or, as the case may be, the court, the interest payable thereon under this section shall be on such reduced amount.

Explanation 2.—Where the amount determined under sub-section (4) of section 73A is increased by the Commissioner (Appeals), the Appellate Tribunal or, as the case may be, the court, the interest payable thereon under this section shall be on such increased amount.

SECTION 73C .

Provisional attachment to protect revenue in certain cases

(1) Where, during the pendency of any proceeding under section 73 or section 73A, the Central Excise Officer is of the opinion that for the purpose of protecting the interests of revenue, it is necessary so to do, he may, with the previous approval of the Commissioner of Central Excise, by order in writing, attach provisionally any property belonging to the person on whom notice is served under sub-section (1) of section 73 or sub-section (3) of section 73A, as the case may be, in such manner as may be prescribed.

(2) Every such provisional attachment shall cease to have effect after the expiry of a period of six months from the date of the order made under sub-section (1):

Provided that the Chief Commissioner of Central Excise may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, extend the aforesaid period by such further period or periods as he thinks fit, so, however, that the total period of extension shall not in any case exceed two years.

SECTION 73D.

Publication of information in respect of persons in certain cases

(1) If the Central Government is of the opinion that it is necessary or expedient in the public interest to publish the name of any person and any other particulars relating to any proceedings under this Chapter in respect of such person, it may cause to be published such names and particulars in such manner as may be prescribed.

(2) No publication under this section shall be made in relation to any penalty imposed under this Chapter until the time for presenting an appeal to the Commissioner (Appeals) under section 85 or the Appellate Tribunal under section 86, as the case may be, has expired without an appeal having been presented or the appeal, if presented, has been disposed of.

Explanation.—In the case of a firm, company or other association of persons, the names of the partners of the firm, directors, managing agents, secretaries and treasurers or managers of the company, or the members of the association, as the case may be, shall also be published if, in the opinion of the Central Government, circumstances of the case justify it.

SECTION 87

Recovery of any amount due to Central Government.

Where any amount payable by a person to the credit of the Central Government under any of the provisions of this Chapter or of the rules made there under is not paid, the Central Excise Officer shall proceed to recover the amount by one or more of the modes mentioned below:—

(a) the Central Excise Officer may deduct or may require any other Central Excise Officer or any officer of customs to deduct the amount so payable from any money owing to such person which may be under the control of the said Central Excise Officer or any officer of customs;

(b) (i) the Central Excise Officer may, by notice in writing, require any other person from whom money is due or may become due to such person, or who holds or may subsequently hold money for or on account of such person, to pay to the credit of theCentral Government either forthwith upon the money becoming due or being held or at or within the time specified in the notice, not being before the money becomes due or is held, so much of the money as is sufficient to pay the amount due from such person or the whole of the money when it is equal to or less than that amount;

(iv) every person to whom a notice is issued under this section shall be bound to comply with such notice, and, in particular, where any such notice is issued to a post office, banking company or an insurer, it shall not be necessary to produce any pass book, deposit receipt, policy or any other document for the purpose of any entry, endorsement or the like being made before payment is made, notwithstanding any rule, practice or requirement to the contrary;

(iii) in a case where the person to whom a notice under this section is sent, fails to make the payment in pursuance thereof to the Central Government, he shall be deemed to be an assessee in default in respect of the amount specified in the notice and all the consequences of this Chapter shall follow;

(c) the Central Excise Officer may, on an authorisation by the Commissioner of Central Excise, in accordance with the rules made in this behalf, distrain any movable or immovable property belonging to or under the control of such person, and detain the same until the amount payable is paid; and in case, any part of the said amount payable or of the cost of the distress or keeping of the property, remains unpaid for a period of thirty days next after any such distress, may cause the said property to be sold and with the proceeds of such sale, may satisfy the amount payable and the costs including cost of sale remaining unpaid and shall render the surplus amount, if any, to such person;

(d) the Central Excise Officer may prepare a certificate signed by him specifying the amount due from such person and send it to the Collector of the district in which such person owns any property or resides or carries on his business and the said Collector, on receipt of such certificate, shall proceed to recover from such person the amount specified there under as if it were an arrear of land revenue.

PROCEDURE OF DEMAND/ RECOVERY OF DUES OF SERVICE TAX

Section 73, 73A to 73D and Section 87 provide for recovery of service tax under various circumstances. Let us discuss the provisions made under each section separately.

Section 73: 10.2 This section empowers the Central Excise Officer to serve notice to the person, chargeable with service tax, which has been not levied or paid or short-levied or short-paid or erroneously refunded. Time limit for serving a notice under this situation is ‘one year’ from the relevant date, Definition of ‘relevant date’ is given at the end of this chapter.

10,2.1 In cases where service tax has been not levied or paid or short-levied or short-paid or erroneously refunded by the reason of fraud; or collusion; or willful mis statement; or suppression of facts; or contravention of any of the provisions of this act or rules made there under with an intent to evade payment of service tax, then the time limit for serving the notice is extended up to five years.

10.2.2 Section 73(1A) provides for conclusion of adjudication proceedings in respect of a person to whom a notice is served under the proviso to sub-section(1) of section 73 (i.e. deliberate evasion of service tax), if such person voluntarily deposits the service tax demanded in full and the interest payable thereon under section 75 and penalty equal to 25%, of the service tax demanded, the adjudication proceedings can be treated as conclusive.

Section 73A: Provides for voluntary payment by an assessee of any amount collected in excess of the service tax leviable or recovery of any amount as representing service tax, that has been collected by a person but not deposited with the Central Government.

Section 73B: Enables the Central Government to collect interest or, the amount as determined under sub-section (4) of section 73A at a rate notified by the Central Government.( not less than 10% but not exceeding 24% p.a.)

Section 73C: Provides for provisional attachment by Central Excise Officer of any property belonging to a person on whom notice is served under sub-section(1) of section 73 or sub-section (3) of section 73A during the pendency of such proceedings.

Section 73D: Provides for publishing the name of any person and any other particulars relating to any proceedings under the provisions of Chapter V of the Finance Act, 1994, in relation to such person, in public interest, in such manner as may be prescribed.

Section 87: Provides for recovery of any amount due to the Central Government by any one of the following modes:

a,  by deducting such amount from any money owed to such person, under the control
of any Central Excise Officer or any officer of Customs .

b. by recovery from any other person from whom money is due to such defaulting person.

c. by restraining any movable or immovable property belonging to such person and detain the same until the amount payable is paid.

d, by preparing a certificate signed by such person specifying the amount due and send it to the Collector of district in which such person owns any property or carries on his business. The said Collector, on receipt of such certificate shall proceed to recover from such person the amount specified there under as if it were an arrear of land revenue.

PENALTY

Penalties have been prescribed under different sections for different types of offences.

Sr. No. Section Offence Details
1 76 Failure to pay service tax Not less than Rs.200 for every day during which failurecontinues, or

@2% of such tax per month,

whichever is higher but shall not exceed the amount of service tax due.

2 77 General penalty for contravention of any provisions of chapter V of Finance Act,1994 or rules made there under for which no penalty is provided May extend to an amount notexceeding Rs. 1000
3 78 Service tax not been levied or paid or been short-levied or short-paid by reason of fraud or collusion or willful mis-levied statement or suppression of facts or contravention of any of the provisions of chapter V of Finance Act, 1994 or of the rules made there under with intent to evade payment of service tax or erroneously refunded. Shall not be less than but which shall not exceed twice the amount of service tax not levied or paid or short? or short paid or erroneously refunded.

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