CESTAT directs rebate on Service Tax to Bharat Mines & Minerals
In a major relief to Bharat Mines & Minerals, the Delhi Bench of Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) ruled that the Chartered Accountant (CA) is not barred from giving business consultancy for Export.
The appellant, M/s. Bharat Mines and Minerals is manufacturer of Soapstone chargeable to nil rate of duty of excise. The appellant is not registered under the Central Excise Rules, 2002 or the Service Tax Rules, 1994. However, the appellant had been issued a service tax code. The appellant is a regular exporter of soapstone, and has been claiming rebate of service tax paid on specified services used in the export of soapstone.
The Original Authority had rejected rebate claims on the ground that the activities of the received services had no nexus with export consignment, instead the endeavour of the appellant took place much before any of the export orders were received by the exporter, and the said activities did not require any repetition on regular basis. Therefore, the services had not been used beyond the factory gate or any other place or premises of manufacture.
The Commissioner (Appeals), while deciding the appeals filed by the appellant against the three Orders-in-Original has made out a new case and has rejected appeals of the appellant on a new ground, that the invoices had been issued by Anuj Maheshwari & Co. a Chartered Accountancy firm for ‘professional consultancy’ for export, that as per clause 11 of Part I of the First Schedule to Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 as amended, a Chartered Accountant could not engage in any business or occupation other than that of Chartered Accountancy, unless permitted by the Council so to engage; that the work claimed to be undertaken in this case is that of commission agent; that a Chartered Accountant holding certificate of practice could not provide such services; that this was professional misconduct under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949; and that professional consultancy services in relation to export could not be classified as services of Chartered Accountants.
The coram of the Judicial Member Anil Choudhary held that there is no bar by a professional Chartered Accountant in giving business consultancy for the purpose of export.The Commissioner (Appeals) has travelled beyond the scope of Show Cause Notice rejecting the appeal on a new ground i.e. a Chartered Accountant in practice cannot give consultancy for export.
“I hold that the appellant is entitled to rebate on the Service Tax paid on the consultancy bill, for consulting the Chartered Accountant. Accordingly, the impugned order is set aside and the appeals are allowed,” the CESTAT ordered.
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