Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Sep 24, 2004
Industry & Economy
New scheme to enlarge service tax assessee base
New Delhi , Sept. 23
THE Finance Ministry intends to launch from Friday a soft media campaign aimed at enlarging the service tax assessee base in the country.
The advertising campaign, to be unveiled in the print media, will also declare that no penal action would be taken against those service providers who get themselves registered with the Revenue Department before October 31.
"We need to vastly expand the number of assessees for service tax. The campaign would emphasis that service tax administrators would be taxpayer friendly and that we want people to voluntarily register as service tax provider and pay their taxes," Mr P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister, told newspersons here.
He also said that no questions would be asked about the value declaration made by a service provider who is getting registered with the Revenue Department before October 31.
"We will trust the service provider and accept the declaration made by him. There will be no levy of penalty on those who get registered before October 31," he said.
The Finance Minister, however, told Business Line that this offer was not an amnesty scheme from the department.
The number of service providers registered with the Excise Department as on March 31, stood at 4,03,856. Between April 1 and July 31, 2004, the number of new registrants stood at 28,109.
On service tax collections, Mr Chidambaram said that the Revenue Department was doing "reasonably well" on this front. "We have collected Rs 4,095 crore in the first five months of the current fiscal. This is only on 58 services and does not include the 12 new services that have now come under the service tax net after the enactment of Finance Bill. We are reasonably confident that we will achieve the Budget estimate of Rs 14,150 crore for the current fiscal," he said.
Meanwhile, an official release said that the offer being made by the Finance Ministry is the last opportunity for registration and payment of service tax without inviting penal action.
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