There were enormous expectations from the Finance Minister as this is their 3rd budget. Announcements regarding GST were expected, however there was no commitment of a date for GST introduction in the Finance Minister’s speech apart from a mention that focus would be to introduce it at the earliest. Introduction of 12 new benches of the CESTAT should help in reducing the congestion currently existing in the litigation system.
However, levy of new Krishi Kalyan Cess of 0.50% on all services, though creditable, is a setback as it would increase the cost of services. This cess would have an impact on all aspects of the economy, since all taxable services will attract this cess. Further, levying and reporting service tax would be more complex as service tax and Krishi Kalyan cess would be creditable but Swachh Bharat cess would not be. Overall, it’s a budget with some reform but it leaves us with an expectation that more could have been done
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