CAG Exempted from Paying Service Tax on Statutory Audits
The governments expenditure watchdog Comptroller and Auditor General of India will not have to pay service tax on the statutory audits that it carries out, the Central Board of Excise and Customs has said. In a directive to its officials, the apex indirect taxes body has clarified that the CAG is a constitutional authority and cannot be considered as a concern akin to a firm of chartered accountants. The CBEC stepped in after the chief commissioner of Nagpur zone circulated an advisory to all chief commissioners of central excise and service tax across the country, saying that the CAG was not discharging its service tax liability. The chief commissioners view stemmed from the provisions in the Act under which the services of practising chartered accountants are taxed. CAG is a constitutional authority and can by no stretch of imagination be covered by the meaning of expression concern appearing in the definition of practising chartered accountant, the CBEC said. Only a person who is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and holds a certificate of practice granted under the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act,1949 can be defined as a practising chartered accountant, the apex indirect taxes body said.
Economic Times, New Delhi, 21-06-2012