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Guide to Filing Service Tax Returns in India

Many business entities in India are unfamiliar with the annual compliance of Service Tax although their businesses are registered under the Servicer Tax Registration.

For the various types of services provided in India, an indirect tax is imposed which is known as Service tax. As the term implies, Service taxes are levied for the labour rendered by a provider. This tax is imposed when someone completes a work on someone else’s behalf or provide professional assistance. The Finance Act of India is the act that governs Service tax in the country.

Any individual or entity should file for Service Tax Returns and this is applicable for those who are under the liability to pay service tax or those that are registered under service tax. Filing of Form ST-3 or Form ST-3A is required for filing Service Tax Returns. The Service tax returns are furnished on a half-yearly basis and this tax return should be filed online.

The payment for Service tax can be done either electronically or manually before the specified due date. Based on the type of industry that the business is based, the due date for the furnishing or collection of Service tax is determined.

All India ITR can assist taxpayers to file service tax return online through swift and user-friendly methods. The professional tax experts can assist any individual taxpayer or entities to calculate the service tax liability, e-file for returns while keeping the taxpayer in the loop over the latest service tax regulations.

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Factors Crucial to e-file Income Tax Returns

E-filing income tax returns is an easy and convenient means. Individuals or entities that should file for tax returns are as follows:

  • Any taxpayer with a total yearly income of Rupees 5 Lacs or more.
  • Individual or HUF India residents who own assets outside of India.
  • All assessee mandated to furnish report of audit mentioned under sections 10(23C) (IV), 10(23C) (v), 10(23C) (VI), 10(23C) (via), 10A, 12A (1) (b), 44AB, 80IA, 80IB, 80IC, 80ID, 80JJAA, 80LA, 92E or 115JB of the Income Act.
  • Taxpayers mandated to notify the assessing officer under the policy of Section 11(2) (a).
  • Under ITR 5, any firm, Association of Persons (AOI), Body of Individuals (BOI), Cooperative Society, Artificial Juridical Person or Local Authority that does not come under the provisions of section 44AB must file for returns.
  • An assessee who is mandated to furnish returns under Section 139 (4B) (ITR 7).
  • An Indian resident who is the signatory authority for any account which is outside India.
  • A resident who claims for relief under sections 90 and 90A or deductions under section 91.
  • All corporate companies of India.

The Exemptions Under Service Tax in India

In India, usually, service tax is imposed on all services except for those services specified in the negative list of services. No entity, either public or government entity is exempted from Service Tax payments. Every service providers inclusive of the central and state government or private sector service providers fall liable to pay service tax.

An exceptional few cases can be listed wherein the service providers can avoid paying service tax if they fall under any of the exemption criteria:

  • Service providers operating small scale or individually operated services can benefit from service tax exemption. This benefit can be availed if the total turnover of taxable services within a financial year does not go beyond Rupees 10 Lacs.
  • The end recipient will avail service tax exemption for goods or services received if the recipient can produce a written verification that indicates the value of the goods and materials. Duty charge is also exempted on such goods and materials if the services have been furnished as per the rules of the CENVAT Credit policy.
  • Port services, goods transport services and containerised transport services provided to an exporter which is used for exporting of goods are exempted from service tax. If any service tax is charged to the exporter at any stage, the tax which has been paid by the exporter is refunded.
  • Indian services provided to any international organizations or the United Nations are not taxable under the Service Taxation Act.
  • Service tax is also exempted for service providers who provide facilities for developing the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) or for the benefit of any unit of Special Economic Zone.

Filing for Service Tax Returns Online

The procedure to file for Service tax return can be done via two methods:

Online Filing of data in Service Tax Return:

  • The taxpayer must be registered under Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax (ACES).
  • The ACES Declaration Form must be filled and deposited to the respective Range Superintendent.
  • The taxpayer must ensure that all the details are entered correctly. The taxpayer’s email ID can be used as the Temporary Personal Identification Number (TPIN) while the password will be emailed on this ID.
  • Upon receiving the TPIN and password the taxpayer must visit the official website of ACES Government and select the service Tax option to log in.
  • After entering the TPIN and password the taxpayer will gain access to his/her account. For 1st time users, the password must be changed manually, as for the TPIN, it remains the same.
  • Click on the ‘RET’ (Return) and choose the option ‘fill ST3’.
  • The assesses’ premises code and the address of where the premises is registered will appear on the page. A code will direct the page to a hyperlink that will prepare the ST3 returns.
  • The taxpayer must then file the tax return and select ‘save’, leading to a confirmation page about the returns.
  • To make changes to the returns, click on ‘Modify’ and then save the changes.
  • On successful submission of returns, a confirmation displaying the unique number for the return confirmation will be provided.

Return can be revised once in every 90 days by clicking ‘revising ST3’.

Offline filing of data in Service Tax Return using Excel Utility:

  • A taxpayer must visit the official ACES website and select the ‘download’ at the homepage.
  • Select ‘Central Excise & Service Tax’ and select ‘download ST3 Return Excel Utility’.
  • Fill the excel form to prepare the return.
  • After filling all the credentials click on ‘Validate & Submit’ to generate XML file (Save the XML file).
  • Login to ACES and go to ‘RET’ menu.
  • Under ‘E-filing’ option select ‘upload file’.
  • Save the return by selecting ‘save’ and then click ‘Submit’ to file the return.
  • Upon successful upload, a return confirmation will appear without any unique number.

For viewing the status of Return click on ‘RET’, select ‘E-filing’ option and then ‘View Status’. If the Return has been filed on or before the due date, the status will show ‘Filed’.

Points to be noted while e-filing Returns

  • Taxpayers cannot file for tax returns under one mobile number or one email address unless the changes are made on the official website of the government.
  • If the taxpayer’s name which is mentioned in his/her bank documents and official statements vary even slightly from that given in the PAN card, the portal will document the differences as two different individuals.
  • For a non-resident Indian (NRI) both an India number and a foreign number (country of residence) will be required to file income tax returns.

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