Important Changes in Service Tax in Budget 2015-2016
Service Tax Rate
The Finance Bill 2015 proposes an increase in rate of Service Tax from 12.36% to 14% .
The ‘Education Cess’ and ‘Secondary and Higher Education Cess’ shall be subsumed in the revised rate of Service Tax.
The rate of 14% shall be effective from a date notified after the Finance Bill 2015 gets assent of the President and is enacted finally .
The change in rate shall be paved by way of an amendment in Section 66B of the Finance Act,1994.
levy of Education Cess and Secondary and Higher Education Cess on taxable services shall continue till the date new enhanced rate of service tax is declared .
Levy of “Swachh Bharat Cess”
An enabling provision is being incorporated in the Finance Bill, 2014 (Chapter VI/clause 117) to empower the Central Government to impose a Swachh Bharat Cess on all or any of the taxable services at a rate of 2% on the value of such taxable services.
This cess shall be levied from such date as may be notified by the Central Government after the enactment of the Finance Bill, 2015.
Service Tax Rules
In respect of any service provided under aggregator model, the aggregator, or any of his representative office located in India, is being made liable to pay Service Tax if the service is so provided using the brand name of the aggregator in any manner. If an aggregator does not have any presence, including that by way of a representative, in such a case any agent appointed by the aggregator shall pay the tax on behalf of the aggregator. In this regard appropriate amendments have been made in rule 2 of the Service Tax Rules, 1994 and notification No. 30/2012-ST dated 20.6.2012 .This change comes into effect immediately i.e., w.e.f. 1st March, 2015.
Rule 4 is being amended to provide that the CBEC shall, by way of an order, specify the conditions, safeguards and procedure for registration in service tax. In this regard Order No. 1/15-ST, dated 28.2.2015, effective from 1.3.2015 has been issued, prescribing documentation, time limits and procedure for registration. It has also been prescribed that henceforth registration for single premises shall be granted within two days of filing the application.
A provision for issuing digitally signed invoices is being added along with the option of maintaining of records in electronic form and their authentication by means of digital signatures. The conditions and procedure in this regard shall be specified by the CBEC (rule 4, 4A and 5).
Rule 6 (6A) which provided for recovery of service tax self-assessed and declared in the return under section 87 is being omitted consequent to the amendment in section 73 for enabling such recovery. This change will come into effect from the date of enactment of the Finance Bill, 2015
In respect of certain services like money changing service, service provided by air travel agent, insurance service and service provided by lottery distributor and selling agent, the service provider has been allowed to pay service tax at an alternative rate subject to the conditions as prescribed under rule 6 (7), 6(7A), 6(7B) and 6(7C) of the Service Tax Rules, 1994. Consequent to the upward revision in Service Tax rate, the said alternative rates shall also be revised proportionately. Amendments to this effect have been proposed in the Service Tax Rules. These payment shall be allowed as and when the revised Service Tax rate comes into effect.
Cenvat Credit Rules
Rule 4(7) is being amended to allow Cenvat Credit of Service Tax paid under partial reverse charge by the service receiver without linking it to the payment to the service provider. This change will come into effect from 1.4.2015.
The period for availing Cenvat Credit has been being extended from six months from the date of invoice to one year from the date of invoice.
Certain other changes are being made in the provisions of the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004, which, inter-alia, include allowing Cenvat Credit on input and capital goods received directly by job workers, defining “export goods” for the purposes of rule 5, defining “exempt goods” for the purposes of rule 6, making applicable the provision of rule 9(4) to importer dealers, authorizing imposition of restrictions on registered dealers under rule 12AAA, and provisions relating to recovery of credit wrongly taken and imposition of penalty.