CA. M. Lakshmanan
Payment of Service Tax on the last day of the Financial Year viz. on the 31st March is more cumbersome and the assessees are put to lot of practical problems in paying the same. Since all are trying to pay the same on the last day including the service tax they have collected/billed on the last day also, the servers of CBEC and Bank are overloaded and we are not able to log-in at all.
Even from 01.00 p.m onwards we were not able to login at all. We got so many error messages such as ‘The web page cannot be found’, ‘Web page has expired’, ‘Problem with serever response’ ‘There is problem with this web site’s security certificate’, ‘your connection is not private’, ‘The Web Page you are viewing is trying to close the tab. Do you want to close the tab?’ etc., After several hours of failed attempts while I got the ‘e-payment screen’ in the CBEC site, after entering all the required details such as codes for each payment separately, Bank etc., at 08.15 p.m I got the message from SBI site as ‘Will be back soon at 08.15 p.m. IST March 31, to serve you better’. Then I tried ICICI Bank and got the message as ‘ “OOPS” The page you were looking for is temporarily not available. We request you to try again after some time’. Then again after several attempts, I was able to pay the same around 09.30. p.m. and before I could download the chalan the web page closed. Since the same was debited to my account I tried to a copy of the chalan from CBEC under ‘Chalan Status Enquiry’ menu, which also failed because to get a copy of the chalan, I have to give the chalan serial number in addition to the name of the assessee, amount, ST Regn, No. etc., Since the number is not available, I made a complaint in the site stating the as I do not have the serial no. of the chalan, I could not make a request for a copy of the chalan. I got a mail from CBEC directing me to get the same from the Bank. Then I sent a mail to the ‘mail id’ provided and expecting response. Even after 2 days I am waiting for the chalan.
Every service tax payer on the last day would have encountered all these problems. Why the Act insists on the payment of tax collected/billed on the day itself is not known. It is practically impossible to pay the same because the ‘day end operations’ will be continued till late night since it is the last day of the year. The assessees should be given atleast one week’s time to pay the same i.e., on or before 7th April taking into consideration the precious man hours wasted in the last of the year.