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Govt. on Overdrive to Mop up Service Tax
The Government has begun special surveys in the National Capital Region and elsewhere to identify establishments evading service tax. The exercise is also to bring in new taxpayers.
To start with, air-conditioned restaurants, beauty parlours, fitness centres and gyms, which have all been brought under the ambit of service tax, will be surveyed.
The survey on restaurants in Delhi started on Saturday. The Service Tax Commissionerate in Delhi has adopted a different strategy this time. The officials have obtained a list of restaurants that have been given the mandatory ‘No Objection Certificate’ by the Delhi Police. Many restaurants have brand names that are different from the name of the owner registered with the Service Tax Department. Some AC restaurants are also franchisees of well-known brands with the names of the owners varying.
“Now, our teams are visiting each of the AC restaurants in different localities to get information such as PAN, Service Tax Registration Number and average monthly sales,” a senior Revenue Department official told Business Line.
Any establishment with an annual sale of less than Rs 10 lakh will automatically be excluded, while for the rest, the Department will check whether they are depositing service tax they have collected and filing returns. Any establishment that has collected Rs 50 lakh or more as service tax but not deposited it with the Government for six months, is liable to be prosecuted.
The revenue authorities are facing a tough time since many establishments have obtained service tax registration, but have either stopped filing returns or have not paid any service tax at all.
The Finance Minister, himself, has said that there are over 10 lakh non-filers. In Delhi alone, of the over 2.50 lakh assessees, nearly two-thirds have either never paid service tax or have stopped filing returns.
The Department is now getting into action because the Government aims to collect service tax of over Rs 1.80 lakh crore during 2013-14. This requires a growth rate of 36 per cent over 2012-13. However, during the first four months (April-July) of the current fiscal, service tax collection grew at 15 per cent to touch Rs 43,190 crore.
Business Line, New Delhi, 27-08-2013