A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in a recent ruling, categorically held that, in a contract for retreading of tyres, the assessee is liable to pay service tax only on service component which under State Act has been quantified at 30 per cent and not on entire gross value of service rendered.
The bench was hearing an appeal wherein, M/s Safety Retreading Company (P) Ltd, the appellant-assessee challenged the order of the CESTAT confirming the levy of tax on the gross value of the service rendered including the cost of materials used and transferred.
Allowing the appeal, the two judge bench comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Ashok Bhushan observed that, “the exigibility of the component of the gross turnover of the assessee to service tax in respect of which the assessee had paid taxes under the local Act whereunder it was registered as a Works Contractor, would no longer be in doubt in view of the clear provisions of Section 67 of the Finance Act, 1994, as amended, which deals with the valuation of taxable services for charging service tax and specifically excludes the costs of parts or other material, if any, sold (deemed sale) to the customer while providing maintenance or repair service. This, in fact, is what is provided by the Notification dated 20th June, 2003 and CBEC Circular dated 7th April, 2004, extracted above, subject,however, to the condition that adequate and satisfactory proof in this regard is forthcoming from the assessee. On the very face of the language used in Section 67 of the Finance Act, 1994 we cannot subscribe to the view held by the Majority in the appellate Tribunal that in a contract of the kind under consideration there is no sale or deemed sale of the parts or other materials used in the execution of the contract of repairs and maintenance. The finding of the appellate Tribunal that it is the entire of the gross value of the service rendered that is liable to service tax, in our considered view, does not lay down the correct proposition of law which, according to us, is that an assessee is liable to pay tax only on the service component which under the State Act has been quantified at 30%.”
The Revenue contended that there is no evidence forthcoming from the side of the assessee that the value of the goods or the parts used in the contract and sold to the customer amounts to seventy per cent (70%) of the value of the service rendered which is the taxable component under the State Act.
Rejecting the above argument, the bench said, “no dispute has been raised with regard to the assessment of the appellant on its turnover under the local/State Act, insofar as payment of value added tax on that component (70%) is concerned. A reading of the show cause notice dated 24th January, 2008 would go to show that the entire thrust of the Department’s case is the alleged liability of the appellant –assessee to pay service tax on the gross value. In the aforesaid show cause notice, the details of the value of the goods, raw materials, parts, etc. and the value of the services rendered have been mentioned and service tax has been sought to be levied at the prescribed rate of ten per cent (10%) on the differential amount. It is now stated before us that the aforesaid figures have been furnished by the assessee himself and, therefore, must be understood not to be authentic. This, indeed, is strange. No dispute has been raised with regard to the correctness of the said figures furnished by the assessee in the show cause notice issued to justify the stand now taken before this Court; at no point of time such a plea had been advanced.”
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