In the recent budget I have heard that the service tax henceforth needs to be paid on billing bases. Is it correct? —Ankit Parekh
The Finance Bill, 2011 proposes to introduce with effect from April 1, 2011, Point of Taxation Rules in which, these rules will determine the point in time when the services shall be deemed to be provided. The general rule will be that the time of provision of service will be the earliest of the following dates:
i. Date on which service is provided or to be provided
ii. Date of invoice
iii. Date of payment
Consequential changes have also been made in the Service Tax Rules, 1994 to alter the payment of service tax from receipt of payment to provision of service and also to permit adjustment of tax when service is not finally provided.
Determination of point of taxation: -For the purposes of these rules, unless otherwise stated, 'Point of taxation' shall be determined in the following manner, namely:-
(a) A provision of service shall be treated as having taken place at the time when service is provided or to be provided, and
(b) if, before the time specified in clause (a), the person providing the service issues an invoice or receives a payment, the service shall, to the extent covered by the invoice or the payment made thereof, be deemed to have been provided at the time the invoice was issued or the payment was received, as the case may be, whichever is earlier.
What these rules basically mean is that from April 1, 2011, service tax will have to be paid on accrual bases. Service tax will be due when the invoice is raised or date of payment or provision of service, whichever is earlier. Till March 31, 2011 service tax is payable on collection or receipt bases that is when you realise your dues you pay to the government, but from April 1, 2011, service tax will have to be paid on accrual bases. Now service tax will have to be paid irrespective of the fact whether the payment of service is received or not.
The government has brought in this change because in all indirect taxation like Central Excise or Sales Tax the payment of duty needs to be done on accrual basis. Only service tax was payable on receipt basis. Now since the government is considering implementing GST from April 1, 2012, hence payment of service tax is also brought in line with payments of other indirect taxes.
The writer is with M.Sheth & Co, a chartered accountancy firm in Mumbai, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org