Central Board of Excise & Customs vide Order No. 01/2013-ST dated 06.03.2013 has extended the date of submission of the service tax returns (Form ST-3) for the second quarter of 2012 (1st July 2012 to 30th September 2012) to 15th April 2013 from the earlier extended due date of 25th March 2013.
As a result of this extension, return for Q2 of 2012-13 will be filed only in FY 2013-14.
It may be recalled that service tax returns have to be filed half yearly, i.e. by 25th of the following month. April to September return has to be filed by 25th of October. Similarly for the period October to March, return has to be filed by 25th of April. However, on account sweeping changes brought about to the service tax law in 2012 budget, (i.e. the introduction of negative list of services with effect from 1st July 2012) tax payers were asked to file the first half yearly return in two parts, i.e. one return for April to June and the second for July to September. This was opted to facilitate smooth transition to the negative list regime. Though the negative list was announced in February 2012, the department has not yet notified the revised tax returns under the negative list regime.
It may be noted that it has been more than 12 months from introduction of this new regime, and yet, the department is not sure of what they expect the tax payers to declare.
If the draftsmen take more than a year for drafting suitable return, one can imagine:
- how many days the tax payers will take to understand the return form
- how many days they will take to file the tax returns
- how many days the department takes to process the returns
And the list can go on and on.
This leads me to several questions. Is the return going to be so complicated? Don’t we have capable officers who can design and draft necessary forms?
Are efforts being made to make this return simpler and user friendly?
We will have to wait and watch to know what’s in store for us!
In the meanwhile, I wish the department offered such extensions for tax payment as well!
I know you all will agree that it is a wishful thinking, but no Government will do that even in wildest dreams.
Let us hope the department will resolve this without any further extensions.