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Works Contract - Construction of Pipeline and Other Structures

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2016-VIL-46-CESTAT-CHE-ST

Service Tax – Works Contract – construction of pipeline and other structures - period of dispute 01.10.2007 to 31.03.2009 - whether for the services provided during this period are liable to service tax under the Works Contract Service, which was introduced into the statute from 01.06.2007

HELD - there was sufficient scope for the appellants to come into a bonafide belief that even during the said period, in absence of clear definition of the Works Contract Service to cover the specific service provided by them, no service tax was payable as the decision of the tribunal in their own case was in favour of them. Though this decision pertained to the period prior to 01.06.2007

Since the issue appears to be latent to the interpretation of law at the initial stage of introducing due service, there was scope of bonafide belief that the appellants did not have to pay tax. Therefore, the non-obtaining of service tax registration and non payment of tax could be due to the bonafide belief that no tax was payable even under Works Contract Service.

Consequently, the appellant’s contention that no returns were filed could also be due to such bonafide belief - failure in obtaining registration and non payment of tax couldn’t be attributed to deliberate suppression of facts and intention to evade tax - invoking of the longer period of time limit is not justifiable in the instant case - impugned order set aside on limitation and appeal is allowed

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