Due date for Filing of Service Tax Returns online has been extended – Many Issues Unanswered

The Central Board of Excise and Customs had extended the date of submission of half yearly return for the period April 2011 to September 2011 from 25th October 2011 to 26th December 2011. The Finance Act has made the E – filing of ST Return mandatory for all class of service providers irrespective of the tax payments, with the sole objective to simplify the service tax regime but the service providers are finding it difficult to understand the entire process of uploading the returns through online means. Not only this, all those service providers who have been filing their returns manually are not compatible with the new system. Moreover the department has not issued proper instructions for the users who are filing their e – returns for the first time which is resulting to a rejection of the return filed by the application. The Board makes it clear that the due date has been extended solely for the fact that the e-filing of service tax returns for all class of service tax assesses has been made mandatory for the first time as such leaving less time for the trade to adjust to the requirement of e-filing. This e-filing scheme of the Government looks helpful to service providers as e-filing is simpler for everyone in this era of the internet and e-governance. BUT, when we look to fill the return online this benefit turns into a huge detriment as this amendment has left many grey areas on the part of return filers.  The half yearly service tax return has to be filed in ACES (Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax website and most of the assessees are finding difficulty in using application of ACES. In the website, the government has not yet issued proper instructions to fill the return online and when the assessee does any error while filling the said form only error is displayed and no where instructions are available as to how to rectify those errors. The government has not cleared whether any hard copy is required to be submitted to any authority or not after e-filing of the ST return. Moreover, ST return has to be filed without digital signature and on submitting the ST return only an acknowledgement number is generated automatically by the ACES website which can be easily forged and one cannot view on that acknowledgement, the details filled or others details. Even service tax provider cannot prove the legal validity of Service tax return filed as neither the hard copy of the return is submitted to the related authority nor the return has been filed with digital signature. Merely filing the return in website, the responsibility does not end because a return will be considered as filed only when the same is successfully accepted by the ACES website application as e-filed and IF return is rejected by the ACES website application, the date of uploading of the rejected return will not be considered as the date of filing even if the acknowledgement while filing the said return displays it as successful filing. The government has provided this e-filing facility but system needs more improvement extending date will no way help.

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One thought on “Due date for Filing of Service Tax Returns online has been extended – Many Issues Unanswered”

  1. Dear Sir
    Due Dated For The July to Sep 2012 Of Service tax Return . Online Return Extend So Please Inform To my Email id

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