11.1 A number of changes have been brought about in Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 (Notification 3/2011-CE (NT) dated 01.03.2011). Important changes relating to Service Tax are given at Annexure C.
Important changes in Cenvat Rules, 2004
1.1 The changes in Cenvat Credit Rules are guided, inter-alia, by the following considerations:
a) Describe the scope of eligible inputs and input services more clearly so as to minimize disputes in their interpretations;
b) Eliminate distortions and areas of tax avoidance arising from differential treatment of goods and services used for similar purposes;
c) Provide a practical scheme for the segregation of Cenvat credits used in respect of final products and output services where they are partially exempted with condition that no such credits shall be taken;
d) Liberalize the provisions in certain areas to meet the legitimate demands of business;
1.2 Details of important changes made in Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 that impact service tax are given in the following paragraphs.
1.3 “Input” has been defined to include, inter-alia, all goods used in a factory by the manufacturer and goods used for providing any output service;
1.4 Goods that shall not constitute input have been specifically excluded. These shall include, besides petroleum items, any goods used for construction of a civil structure (by a manufacturer as well as a service provider) excepting when they are used in the provision of any of the specified construction services. Thus, goods used by a sub-contractor for rendering services of construction to the main contractor shall constitute input.
1.5 Exclusions also cover goods such as food items, goods used in a guesthouse, residential colony, club or a recreational facility or a clinical establishment which are primarily meant for the personal use or consumption of the employees. When any of these goods are used directly in the manufacture of final products or provision of a service they will constitute input.
1.6 Goods which have no relationship whatsoever with the manufacture have also been excluded.
B. Input Service
1.7 The distinction between goods and services is diminishing and many goods can be received as services. Accordingly the definition of “input service” has been aligned with the definition of “input” such that goods that do not constitute “input” do not qualify as “input service”. Thus a service relating to construction of civil structure will not constitute “input service” unless it is provided by a sub-contractor to the main contractor.
1.8 Similarly services relating to motor vehicle i.e. rent-a-cab, use of tangible goods, insurance or repair of vehicle shall not constitute an “input service‟ except in respect of output services where credit on motor vehicle is permitted as “capital goods”.
1.9 On the same lines, a service meant primarily for the personal use or consumption of employees will not constitute an input service. A list of specific services has also been given by way of example in the definition. Most of these services constitute a part of the cost-to-company package of the employee and are provided either free of charge or on concessional basis to company employees.
1.10 Expression “activities relating to business” has been deleted and Business exhibition and legal services added in the list of services.
3. Obligation of manufacturer and provider of services
1.11 Definition of exempted goods shall include such excisable goods as are covered by the notification relating to concessional duty with the condition that no credit of input and input service shall be availed. This amendment shall come into effect on 01.03.2011.
1.12 Similarly the definition of exempted services shall include taxable services which are partially exempted with the condition that no credit of input and input service shall be availed. Moreover it has been clarified that exempted service will include trading service.
1.13 Option to maintain separate accounts only in respect of inputs (and not together with input services) has also been given so that allocation as per formula given in rule 6(3A) is done only in so far as credits on input services are concerned. 1.14 The amount payable under rule 6(3)(i) in respect of services has been reduced from 6% to 5%. Moreover in the case of exempted services (that are partially taxed with no facility of credits) this amount shall be 5% of the exempted value of the service. Thus if the exemption on a certain service is 60%, the amount required to be paid shall be 3% (60X5%) of the full value of the service. In case of exempt goods, amount payable will be reduced by the amount paid at the concessional rate.
1.15 For the purpose of applying the formula under rule 6(3A) the value of trading service as well as value of services covered by composition schemes has been defined. The value of trading service shall be the difference between the sale price and purchase price of goods. The value in respect of services covered by a composition scheme will be tax amount divided by the rate of service tax applicable under section 66 read with any general exemption. As the prevalent rate is 10% the value shall be ten times the amount of service paid or payable.
1.16 A substantial part of the income of a bank or a life insurance company is from investments or by way of interest in which a number of inputs and input services are used. There have been difficulties in ascertaining the amount of credit flowing into earning these amounts. Thus a banking company or a financial institution, including NBFC, providing banking and financial services are being obligated to pay an amount equal to 50% of the credit availed. In case of services relating to life insurance or management of ULIPs such amount will be equal to 20% of credit availed. Other options of payment of amount under Rule 6 shall not be available for these taxpayers.
1.17 Consequent to the introduction of the proportionate allocation and its rationalization now, Rule 6(5) that allows full credit of 17 specified services has been deleted.
1.18 New sub-rule (6A) has been added to allow provision of services without payment of service tax to a unit in SEZ or to a developer in SEZ for their authorized operations, without requirement of reversal of any CENVAT credit on this account. This will help in tax-free receipt of services by units and developers in SEZs.
1.19 Most of the Cenvat changes will come into effect from 01.04.2011 except a few that will be effective from 01.03.2011.
C. Addition of Services under section 66A in rule 3
1.20 Service tax leviable under section 66A has been added in the list of eligible credits under rule 3 w.e.f. 18.04.2006 by a retrospective amendment in the Bill. This was already clarified by circular F. NO.345/1/2008-TRU dated 27.06.2008 but has now been done by law to settle the disputes arising due to audit objections. It shall come into force on the enactment of the Finance Bill.