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Finance Bill 2008 passed with notifications in Service Tax

The Finance Bill, 2008 received the assent of the President of India on the 10th May, 2008 which contains provisions for direct and indirect taxes for fiscal year 2008-09. The Finance Bill was earlier approved by both the houses of Parliament. Consequently the Finance Act, 2008 is being published in the Gazette of India dated 10th May, 2008 as Act No.18 of 2008.

With the President giving her assent to the Finance Bill, the government completes the Budgetary exercise for 2008-09 that initiated with the presentation of the General Budget by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in Lok Sabha on February 29.

Central Government has issued seven notifications relating to service tax so as to give effect to various provisions of the Finance Act, 2008.

2. Transaction between associated enterprises:

2.1 In the Finance Act, 2008, section 67 has been amended. As per this amendment, service tax is required to be paid by the person liable to pay service tax on the taxable services provided even if the consideration for the taxable services provided is not actually received. In such cases, service tax is required to be paid immediately after crediting/debiting of the amount in the books of accounts or receipt of payment, whichever is earlier. However, this provision is restricted to transaction between associated enterprises and shall come into force w.e.f. 10th May, 2008. Explanation to Rule 6(1) of the Service Tax Rules, 1994 has been added as removal of doubts stating that any payment received towards the value of taxable service shall include any amount credited or debited, as case may be, to any account, whether called ‘Suspense account’ or by any other name, in the books of account of a person liable to pay service tax [Refer notification No.19/2008-Service Tax dated 10.05.08].

3. Certain provisions relating to the levy of service tax in the Finance Act, 2008 shall come into force from a date to be notified. For this purpose, notifications No.18/2008 to 24/2008-Service Tax, all dated 10th May, 2008 have been issued.

4. Following changes / amendments shall come into force w.e.f. 16.05.2008:

· Seven services which are specifically mentioned in the category of taxable services and amendments made relating to existing taxable services.

· Amendments made in section 65 (defines taxable services and specified terms used in relation to taxable services) and section 66 (charging section) vide the Finance Act, 2008.

· Amendments made in Export of Services Rules, 2005 and the Taxation of Services (Provided from Outside India and Received in India) Rules, 2006 so as to categorise the newly specified taxable services under Rule 3 [Refer notification No.20/2008-Service Tax dated 10.05.08 & notification No.21/2008-Service Tax dated 10.05.08].

· Optional Scheme for payment of service tax on Purchase or Sale of foreign currency: Service tax is leviable on purchase or sale of foreign currency, including money changing, provided by an authorized dealer in foreign currency or an authorised money changer, or a foreign exchange broker. Where the consideration for the services provided in relation to purchase or sale of foreign currency is not explicitly indicated, the person liable to pay service tax has been given the option to pay service tax calculated at the rate of 0.25% of the gross amount of currency exchanged. The method is prescribed under rule 6(7B) of the Service Tax Rules, 1994. [Refer notification No.19/2008-Service Tax dated 10.05.08].

5. Government of India has already notified, vide notifications No.41/2007-Service Tax, dated 06.10.07 and 43/2007-ST, dated 29.11.07, sixteen taxable services attributable to export goods, whether or not in the nature of input services, providing refund of service tax paid on the said sixteen taxable services. Consequent upon the enactment of the Finance Act, 2008, Government has notified 16.05.2008 as the effective date for the specifically included taxable services vide the Finance Act, 2008. Out of the said taxable services, refund of service tax paid by exporters has been extended to the following additional 3 services:

· Purchase or sale of foreign currency under banking and other financial service,

· Purchase or sale of foreign currency under foreign exchange broking service,

· Supply of tangible goods for use service

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