Preparing and filing service tax return


Service Tax is a form of indirect tax levied by Central Government on services provided or agreed to be provided excluding certain services covered under the negative list and mega exemption list. The Service Tax has been levied through the Finance Act, 1994 and Service Tax Rules, 1994. Currently, the rate of service tax is 15% including Krishi Kalyan Cess of 0.5% and Swachh Bharat Cess of 0.5%. Service tax payment must be paid by entity on the respective due date. The due date for payment of service tax collected is determined based on the type of business entity.

Every person who is liable to pay service tax is mandatorily required to file service tax return in ST-3 or ST-3A. Every assessee shall himself assess the tax and file the half-yearly returns within 25 days of the month following the particular period. Therefore, the due dates for preparing and filing service tax return are as follows:-

  • 1st half-year i.e. from 1st April to 30th September is 25th October and
  • 2nd half-year i.e. from 1st October to 31st March is 25th April

With the advancement in technology, nowadays service tax return can be filed online or electronically by every eligible assessee. There are certain advantages of filing service tax return online such as it saves time, lead to quick refund of tax, ensures secure & confidential submission, helps in online tracking the status of selected documents and reduces paper work.

As per Rule 7C of the Service Tax Rules, 1994, if the assessee is not able to file the service tax return within the prescribed time limit, then, such assessee shall pay to the credit of Central Government, for the period of delay:


Up to 15 days

INR 500

Beyond 15 days but not later than 30 days

INR 1000

Beyond 30 days

INR 1000 + INR 100 per day from the 31st day


Provided that the amount of penalty shall not exceed INR 20000, being the limit prescribed under section 70 of the Finance Act, 1994.

The service tax return is filed at www.aces.gov.in. While filing the service tax return, an assessee must have the details regarding the Challans related to services and the input credit details which are utilized against output service tax.

Nowadays, a new indirect taxation system is being introduced by Central Government known as Goods and Service Tax Act. GST is the comprehensive indirect tax replacing and combining all the existing indirect taxes and converting the current complicated indirect taxation system into a single simplified taxation system. GST Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha on 3rd August 2016; however, it will be applicable from 1st July, 2017 in India. GST is levied on the manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India, to replace taxes levied by the central and state governments. All the existing taxpayers registered under VAT, Service Tax, and Excise are required to furnish the details at GST Common portal for the purpose of migrating themselves into GST regime. The introduction of GST will simplify the procedures related to the filing of service tax return.

Shekhar Gupta has been actively blogging for over six years on a myriad number of topics including accounts, finance, financial technology, insurance, taxation, corporate taxations, and business & economy among others.

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Shekhar Gupta 
on 26 May 2017
Published in Service Tax
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