The impasse over levying service tax on Senior Advocates seems to have been resolved. According to our sources, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has restored the “reverse charge” mechanism when it comes to service tax on senior advocates.
Speaking to Bar & Bench, SCBA President Dushyant Dave said,
“I believe the Finance Minister has restored the “reverse charge” position. And if the sources are correct, I would like to personally thank the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on behalf of the Bar and the fraternity of Senior Advocates for this clarification.”
With this clarification from the Finance Minister, Senior Advocates like other advocates and law firms would now be covered under reverse charge mechanism i.e. the clients would deposit the tax with government directly.
In this year’s Budget, Finance Minister Jaitley had decided to tax the services offered by senior advocates to an advocate or a law firm on a forward charge basis. This meant that the senior counsel would have to collect the tax (at the rate of 14 per cent) and deposit this with the authorities.
As expected, the provisions were immediately challenged in different courts; the Gujarat High Court had granted a stay, followed by a similar direction from the Delhi High Court.