Service tax defaulters under scanner, says Chidambaram

Service tax defaulters under scanner, says Chidambaram

Sectors that are chronic defaulters of service tax  will face government action under a new scheme.

The tax department will act against sectors that are chronic defaulters of service tax while coaxing non-filers of returns to come clean before December 31 under a special scheme, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in Chennai on Saturday.

Listing sectors like immovable property renters, consultancy, advertising, real estate, transport operators, manpower recruiters and others as chronic defaulters of service tax he warned: "The gaze of the department will fall on these sectors."

Chidambaram said the government has immense data and sources to profile an individual's tax record .

"Out of 17 lakh who registered for payment of service tax only seven lakh pay that tax. Ten lakh do not pay," the minister said at an interactive session on Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme (VCES)-2013.

He said the government has dossiers on economic offenders. It is only due to the limitations of the tax department that they are not being reached.

Chidambaram said the non-filers of service tax returns should take advantage of the scheme that waives interest and other penalties.

Justifying the arrest of 10 people for non-payment of service tax, he said those persons collected over Rs 50 lakh from others and did not remit the same to the government but were using the money for their own purposes.

Chidambaram said the number of service providers has grown but the department is not able to keep pace with it.

Fifteen years after the tax was introduced a large number of service providers are not filing their returns and many have stopped filing.

Chidambaram said the tax-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio and the tax payer base in India is one of the lowest in the world.

The government is targeting service tax revenue of Rs 80,141 crore this fiscal up from Rs 1,32,498 crore collected in 2012, said Central Board of Excise and Customs chairperson Praveen Mahajan.