Origin of Service Tax:
Dr. Manmohan Singh, the then Union Finance Minister, in his Budget speech for the year 1994-95 introduced the new concept of Service Tax and stated that '' There is no sound reason for exempting services from taxation, therefore, I propose to make a modest effort in this direction by imposing a tax on services of telephones, non-life insurance and stock brokers.'' Service Tax has been introduced in order to explore new avenues for taxation and to bring more people into the tax net. Service Tax generated revenue of Rs 2612 crores in 2000-2001. In 2001-2002 it is estimated at 3600 crores. Bringing services under taxation is not simple as the services are intangible and are provided by large groups of organized as well as unorganized service providers including retailers who are scattered across the country. Further, there are several services, which are of intermediate nature. The low level of education of service providers also poses difficulties to both-tax administration and assessees. The Service Tax assessee is the person/firm who provides the service. Hence, the Service Tax must be paid by the person/firm providing the service. As stated earlier, service tax was introduced in India for the first time in 1994. Chapter V of the Finance Act, 1994 (32 of 1994) (Sections 64 to 96) deals with imposition of Service Tax interalia on- a. Service rendered by the telegraph authorities to the subscribers in relation to telephone connections. b. Service provided by the insurer to the policy-holder in relation to general insurance business. c. Service provided by a stockbroker.
The Finance Acts of 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2003 added more services to tax net by way of amendments to Finance Act, 1994. At present total number of services on which Service Tax is levied has gone upto 58 despite withdrawal of certain Services from the tax net or grant of exemptions (Goods Transport Operators, Outdoor Caterers, Pandal and Shamiana...
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