FinMin may form new anti-evasion, intel unit for service tax

FinMin may form new anti-evasion, intel unit for service tax New Delhi: Expecting an increase in revenue from service tax, the Finance Ministry may set-up a new anti-evasion and intelligence unit to check leakage of any indirect tax.

The issue of creating such a separate unit had come up for discussion during a recent meeting of Chief Commissioners and Directors General of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax here.

It was recommended during the meet that the mandate of Directorate General (service tax), based in Mumbai, should be enhanced and it should be assigned the work relating to intelligence and anti-evasion, according to the minutes of the meeting.

A proposal in this regard has already been submitted to the Finance Ministry.

The Directorate General of Service Tax coordinates between the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and central excise commissionerates. It also monitors the collection and the assessment of service tax.

During the two-day meet, a group on 'Way Forward; Service Tax' had suggested creation of a separate service tax intelligence organisation and also creation of specialised groups under service tax commissionerates.

"Recommendations on administrative side include creation of four new service tax zones and 15 new service tax commissionerate and also audit and appeal commissionerate.

"The group also highlighted the high pendency of adjudications in the service tax commissionerate and recommended four posts of commissioners (adjudication)," it said.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who inaugurated the conference on July 17, had noted that service tax revenue is bound to increase in future as it has shown steady growth so far.

The proposed organisation, if comes into force, may be assigned a task of collecting intelligence related to service tax evasion and disseminate it among various field units and agencies, official sources said.

At present, the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI) is entrusted with the task of intelligence gathering and taking action against both the central excise and service tax evaders.

Besides, the Directorate General of Revenue Intelligence (DGRI) is looking after the work of customs duty evasion.

The Finance Ministry has set indirect tax, comprising central excise, service tax and customs, collection target of Rs 5.65 lakh crore for 2013-14, up from Rs 4.73 lakh crore in the last fiscal.

Taking a stern measure against such defaulters, the Finance Ministry has decided to go after about 12 lakh service tax assesses who had stopped filing returns. There are 17 lakh registered assesses under the service tax.

There are over 100 services including outdoor catering, restaurant and travel by air among others which attract service tax.

PTI