Govt to move Supreme Court on Service Tax levy on lawyers

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The revenue department has decided to move the Supreme Court for transfer of petitions filed in three High Courts, which had stayed levy of service tax on legal services provided by senior advocates.

It has also decided to rope in Attorney General in the case and get the stay orders vacated. The High Courts of Delhi, Gujarat and Calcutta have stayed the levy of service tax on legal services provided by senior advocates.

“The Chairman CBEC has directed to engage the services of the Ld Attorney General to get the stays vacated by moving the Hon’ble Supreme Court and requesting for aggregating the petitions filed in various courts in the country in this subject,” said a CBEC communication to concerned officers.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has asked them to “send urgently all the relevant documents” involving the issue pending in the High Courts “so that Transfer Petitions can be filed before the Supreme Court”.

“This may be treated as Most Urgent,” the communication said.

With an aim to broaden the tax net, the Union Budget had proposed to levy Service Tax by withdrawing exemption on services provided by a senior advocate to an advocate or partnership firm of advocates providing legal service and imposition of the levy from April 1.

The Service Tax is charged at rate of 14 per cent. Besides, Swachh Bharat cess of 0.5 per cent is also levied along with the Service Tax.

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