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SC : Affirms taxation of ‘soil leveling’ for towship development as "site formation / excavation" service

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  • SC dismisses SLP against Allahabad HC order, thereby affirming taxation of soil levelling including filling of gorges / nalah, removal of shrubs, grass and rubbish etc. in relation to development of residential and other buildings, colonies and township, under “site formation and clearance, excavation and earthmoving and demolition service” category;
  • Referring to definition of said service u/s 65(97a) of Finance Act which excludes “services provided in relation to agriculture, irrigation, watershed development and drilling, digging, repairing, renovating or restoring of water sources or water bodies”, Allahabad HC had observed that words like ‘drilling’, ‘digging’, ‘repairing’ are all connected with work related to water resources or water bodies
  • According to HC, agriculture means simple cultivation of soil and earth of animals, primarily connected with simple agricultural work, and therefore, levelling of soil in present case was not for agriculture or irrigation but was connected with development of a township/residential scheme;
  • Further, rejecting assessee’s plea that “agricultural work” should be read as ‘agricultural land’, HC remarked that Section 65(97a) is in respect of service and not related to such nature of project, land or other things;
  • Consequently, HC upheld demand invoking extended period of limitation citing non-disclosure of work which lead to clandestine suppression of facts by assessee : SC
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