Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Government restores exemptions to boost infrastructural projects

I. Introduction:
With affirmation on the economic development of the country as against the global slowdown, the Hon'ble Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley presented its third Union Budget for 2016-17. During the budget speech, the Finance Minister flagged various issues which are in the top most priority of the Government. One of such issue which ranks high in the agenda ever since Mr. Narendra Modi came in power is to make the tax laws of the country transparent and predictable. The Government has been vehemently promoting against retrospective amendments which imposes an unforeseeable burden on the tax payer. In the current budget, the Government has proposed to introduce three new sections under service tax law namely 101,102 and 103 so as to restore certain exemptions where were withdrawn in the previous years.
In order to understand the impact of these new sections, it is relevant to refer to serial numbers 12 and 14 of the Mega Exemption Notification 25/2012-ST dated 30.06.2012 as it stood at the time of its introduction and the subsequent amendments which happened over the years.

II. Original Entries
1.0 The serial number 12 of the Mega Exemption Notification 25/2012-ST reads as under:
"Services provided to the Government, a local authority or a governmental authority by way of construction, erection, commissioning, installation, completion, fitting out, repair, maintenance, renovation, or alteration of –
(a)  a civil structure or any other original works meant predominantly for use other than for commerce, industry, or any other business or profession;
(b)  a historical monument, archaeological site or remains of national importance, archaeological excavation, or antiquity specified under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (24 of 1958);
(c)  a structure meant predominantly for use as (i) an educational, (ii) a clinical, or (iii) an art or cultural establishment;
(d)  canal, dam or other irrigation works;
(e)  pipeline, conduit or plant for (i) water supply (ii) water treatment, or (iii) sewerage treatment or disposal; or
(f)  a residential complex predominantly meant for self-use or the use of their employees or other persons specified in the Explanation 1 to clause 44 of section 65B of the said Act;"

2.0 The relevant extracts of serial number 14 of the Mega Exemption Notification 25/2012-ST reads as under:
"Services by way of construction, erection, commissioning or installation of original works pertaining to:
(a)  an airport, port or railways, including monorail or metro

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