Service tax is a subject which has been posing quite a few problems to assessees since its introduction in the year 1994 through Chapter V of Finance Act 1994. Over Rs.80,000 Crores has been collected last year on this count. The service tax law like other tax laws prevalent in the country is not simple, not equitable, not certain and tax administration generally not fair. Over the years there have been number of instances where assessees have had to face litigations with the department at various levels mainly due to lack of clarity in the subject matter in the past. It has been observed that though the Tribunals and Court provide the clarity, the demands from the revenue for the past periods are raised. The professional advisor would also face difficulties while advising the clients in this area which is in a developing stage.
Though an attempt has been made to remove confusion by appropriate clarifications where ever applicable, the assessees’ woes and the advisors problems are far from over. One of the main reasons for this has been the fact that the subject has not yet developed to the fullest extent and we continue to see changes every year by way of clarifications being given and introduction of new services for the purpose of charging service tax apart from making changes to the existing categories to expand the scope of levy. Invariably the changes have been primarily been aimed at increasing the revenue to the government even if it means arming the tax administrators unduly.
It is not uncommon to find entrepreneurs / business advisors/ chartered accountants new to service tax, who are doubtful/ unclear about the legal provisions pertaining to the same. This book is aimed at such Chartered Accountants in employment as well as practice / assessees who are new to service tax practice and are interested in understanding the basic concepts of the subject so that they can take steps to ensure effective compliance with the law. The attesting auditor may also like to have a handily easy to refer book for ensuring compliance under laws he certifies when he signs off the financials for corporate. Keeping this fact in mind and as well as the constraints as to space, this book deals with concepts of service tax to guide the assessee/ professional rather than an in-depth discussion of the legal provisions, especially the taxable services individually.
This book has attained its present form partly due to the efforts of CA Rajesh Kumar TR, Partner M/s Hiregange & Associates, and also the efforts of CA Srikantha Rao T. We acknowledge their efforts.
The book contains an overview of service tax initially which would provide the reader with a bird’s eye view of service tax. The reader is advised to go through the same before proceeding onto the subsequent chapters. This book also contains some of the important procedures which would be useful to the assessee in complying with the legal provisions of service tax.
The authors have tried their best to make the book as complete as possible but where the readers have any doubt regarding the subject matter are advised to refer a more comprehensive publication regarding the same.
The chapters in this book have been arranged in such a way as to give the reader a fairly good idea as to the provisions of law. A reader who is new to service tax would benefit from reading the overview chapter as it would enlighten him all that he needs to know about service tax right from the beginning to the end. The authors would also welcome valuable suggestions from the readers, which would help us in ensuring a better offering next time around. For any comments or feedback please write to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Madhukar N. Hiregange