31 August 2015

Amendment to Customs Duty Free Allowance

Notification No.76/2015

CBEC has made Custom Duty Free Allowance to Rs.45,000/- for passengers of Indian origin and foreigners of over 10 year of age residing in India. 

Duty free limit of Indian Currency that can be brought in India has been increased from Rs.10,000 to Rs.25,000 in FORM 1

Due date for filling of Income Tax Returns has been extended form 31-8-2015 to 7-9-2015 for Gujarat State,

Due date for filling of Income Tax Returns has been extended form 31-8-2015 to 7-9-2015 for Gujarat State, vide CBDT Notification dtd: 31-8-2015.

28 August 2015

Dept Clarification on Restaurant Service (Home Delivery)

Chandigarh Service Tax Dept. clarifies that free home delivery / pick-up of food is not liable to service tax; States that dominant nature of transaction is that of 'sale' as food is not served at restaurant and no other element of service such as ambience, live entertainment (if any), air conditioning or personalised hospitality is offered; Clarifies, "Service Tax can be levied if there's an element of 'Service' involved which would typically be the case where food is served in restaurant." : Dept Clarification 

SEBI Guidance Note on Insider Trading

SEBI issues Guidance Note on Insider Trading Regulations, clarifies on ESOPs & contra-trades
SEBI issues Guidance Note on Insider Trading Regulations, 2015; Clarifies that exercise of ESOPs shall not be considered to be "trading" except for the purposes of Chapter III (relating to 'disclosure of trading by insiders'); States that any derivative contract that is settled in cash on expiry shall be considered to be 'contra-trade' and the trading in index futures or such other derivatives where scrip is part of such derivatives, need not be reported; States that buy-back offers, open offers, rights issues, FPOs, bonus are available to designated persons, and 'contra-trade' restrictions shall not apply; Clarifies that pledgor / pledgee may demonstrate that creation of pledge or invocation of pledge was bona fide and prove their innocence under proviso to Reg. 4(1) of the Regulations (relating to 'Trading when in possession of unpublished price sensitive information'); With respect to the trades done by compliance officer, SEBI clarifies that board of directors of the company shall be the approving authority and may stipulate procedures as are deemed necessary for ensuring necessary compliances: SEBI

Amendment to Arbitration Law

Cabinet approves arbitration law amendments for expeditious case disposal, cost-effective arbitration

Union Cabinet approves amendments to arbitration law, with an aim to ensure neutrality of arbitrators, expeditious disposal of cases, making arbitration more user friendly & cost effective; Amendments include disqualification of arbitrator if he has any relationship or interest in the matter, insertion of a provision for fast track procedure for conducting arbitration; Also includes amendment to Section 34 relating to grounds for challenge of an arbitral award, to restrict the term "Public Policy of India" (as a ground for challenging the award) by explaining that only where making of award was induced or affected by fraud or corruption, or it is in contravention with the fundamental policy of Indian Law or is in conflict with the most basic notions of morality or justice, the award shall be treated as against Public Policy of India; Amendments seek insertion of a new provision that Arbitral Tribunal shall make its award within a period of 12 months and if the award is made within a period of six months, arbitrator may get additional fees if the parties so agree; New provision inserted to provide that application to challenge the award is to be disposed of by the Court within 1 year, thereby ensuring speedy disposal of cases; New Section 31A to be added for providing comprehensive provisions for costs regime, applicable both to arbitrators as well as related litigation in Court, that will avoid frivolous and meritless litigation/arbitration; Amendments also empower Arbitral tribunal to grant all kinds of interim measures which the Court is empowered to grant : Govt. Press Release

20 August 2015

ST Clarification on Section 73,76 & 78

F.No.137/46/2015-Service Tax
Dated: August 18, 2015
All Principal Chief Commissioners of Central Excise
All Chief Commissioners of Central Excise/ Service Tax
Principal Directors General of Goods & Services Tax/ Systems/Central Excise Intelligence
Director General of Audit
All Principal Commissioners of Central Excise/Service Tax
All Commissioners of Central Excise/Service Tax
All Principal Commissioners/Commissioners LTU
Joint Secretary TRU-1/TRU-II/Review
Commissioner Central Excise/ Service Tax/Legal/PAC
Subject: Clarification regarding the provisions of Section 73, 76 and 78 of the Finance Act, 1994 and Section 11AC of the Central Excise Act, 1944 after amendments made vide Finance Act. 2015
Consequent to the amendments made to section 73, 76 and 78 of the Finance Act, 1994 and section 11AC of the Central Excise Act, 1944, vide Finance Act, 2015 with effect from 14.05.2015, field formations have sought certain clarifications with regard to detections made during audit, investigation or scrutiny. Keeping in mind the need to reduce litigation as well as paperwork and compliance formalities. I am directed to convey the following clarifications.
2.0 Issuance of a Show Cause Notice (SCN)
Doubt: Does a SCN have to be issued in a case involving the extended period of limitation, where the assessee pays the tax/duty, interest and 15% penalty as prescribed?
2.1 In a case involving the extended period of limitation, if an assessee pays the service tax/central excise duty, interest and penalty equal to 15% of the tax/duty and makes a request in writing that a written SCN may not be issued to them, then in such cases the SCN can be oral and the representation (if he desires) against it also oral. In other words, an assessee can request for an informed waiver of a written SCN. The Supreme Court in the case of Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai versus Virgo Steels reported in 2002(141) E.L.T 598 (S. C.) has held that:
"14. From the ratio laid down by the Privy Council and followed by this Court in the above cited judgments, it is clear that even though a provision of law is mandatory in its operation if such provision is one which deals with the individual rights of person concerned and is for his benefit, the said person can always waive such a right.
15. Bearing in mind the above decided principle in law, if we consider the mandatory requirement of issuance of notice under Section 28 of the Act, it will be seen that that requirement is provided by the Statute solely for the benefit of the individual concerned, therefore, he can waive that right. In other words, this Section casts a duty on the Officer to issue notice to the person concerned of the proposed action to be taken. This is not in the nature of a public notice nor any person other than the person against whom the proceedings are initiated has any right for such a notice. Thus, the right of notice being personal to the person concerned the same can be waived by that person.
16. If the above position in law is correct, which we think it is. M/s Virgo Steels, having specifically waived its right for a notice, cannot now be permitted to turn around and contend that the proceedings initiated against them are void for want of notice under Section 28 of the Act, so as to frustrate the statutory duty of the Revenue to demand and collect customs duty which M/s Virgo Steels had intentionally evaded."
Although this decision is in relation to section 28 of the Customs Act, 1962. the principles laid down are equally applicable to SCNs issued under other statutes. Hence, an assessee can waive the requirement of a written SCN.
2.2 Further, section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962 provides, inter alia, that no order confiscating any goods or imposing any penalty on any person shall be made unless the owner of the goods or such person is given a notice in writing, an opportunity of making a representation in writing and a reasonable opportunity of being heard. The section also provides that the notice and the representation may, at the request of the person concerned, be oral. This provision has been made applicable to the Central Excise Act, 1944 vide notification number 68/63-Central Excise dated 04,05.1963 issued under section 12 of the Central Excise Act. 1944. The said section of the Central Excise Act is also applicable to service tax vide section 83 of the Finance Act, 1994.
2.3 If the grounds on which the department feels that there has been short/non-payment of tax/duty are intimated to the assessee orally with its quantification and the assessee indicates in writing that he has been informed about such grounds and he accepts the grounds and the quantification and is waiving the requirement of a written SCN, then a written SCN need not be issued.
2.4 Further, clause (i) of the second proviso to section 78 of the Finance Act, 1994 and clause (d) of sub-section (1) of section 11AC of the Central Excise Act. 1944 refer to a thirty day period, from the date of service of the notice, within which the assessee may make the payment of tax/duty, interest and reduced penalty of 15%. In case the assessee makes a written request for waiver of a written SCN, the thirty day period can be computed from the date of receipt of such a letter by the department.
2.5 There is no bar on an assessee making the payment of tax/duty, interest and reduced penalty of 15% even before the date of receipt of such a letter by the department. Such an assessee cannot be placed on a worse footing than one who pays tax/duty, interest and reduced penalty of 15% within 30 days of the receipt of the SCN/receipt of letter by the department.
3.0 Conclusion of proceedings
Doubt: Who is competent to order conclusion of proceedings if the conditions meriting conclusion of proceedings are fulfilled?
3.1 Conclusion of proceedings may be approved by an officer equal in rank to the officer who is competent to adjudicate such cases. The cases can be closed by officers of DGCEI/Executive Commissionerate/Audit Commissionerate, as the case may be. If multiple issues involving different monetary values arise from the same proceedings, then the sum total involved in all the issues arising from the same proceedings should be considered for conclusion of proceedings. The conclusion of proceedings should invariably be intimated to the assessee in writing. There is no need to issue an adjudication order. Further, there is no need to undertake review of such conclusion of proceedings.
3.2 It is further clarified that as per section 73(3) of the Finance Act, 1994, in cases not involving fraud, suppression of facts, etc, if the assessee pays the tax and interest thereon, on the basis of his own ascertainment or that ascertained by the department, no penalty is payable and no show cause notice shall be served under sub-section (1) of section 73 in respect of the amount so paid. Further, as per provisions of clause (i) of proviso to section 76, in such cases not involving fraud, suppression of facts, etc, if the tax and interest thereon is paid within 30 days of the issuance of SCN, no penalty shall be payable and the proceedings shall be deemed to be concluded. These two provisions have to be read harmoniously to conclude that in cases not involving fraud, suppression of facts, etc, if the assessee pays the tax along with interest, either within 30 days of issuance of SCN or before the issuance of SCN, then in such cases proceedings shall be deemed to be concluded. Legal provisions for similar closure in central excise are present in clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 11 AC of the Central Excise Act, 1944.
(Himani Bhayana)
Under Secretary (Service Tax)

19 August 2015

RBI grants in-principle approval to 11 applicants for payment banks.

RBI grants in-principle approval to 11 applicants for payment banks.

1. Aditya Birla Nuvo Limited
2. Airtel M Commerce Services Limited
3. Cholamandalam Distribution Services Limited
4. Department of Posts
5. Fino PayTech Limited
6. National Securities Depository Limited
7. Reliance Industries Limited
8. Shri Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi
9. Shri Vijay Shekhar Sharma
10.Tech Mahindra Limited
11.Vodafone m-pesa Limited

 Do's of payments banks:

* Has to use the word ‘Payments Bank’ in its name to differentiate from other banks

* Accept demand deposits, i.e., current deposits, and savings bank deposits from individuals, small businesses and other entities

* To hold a maximum balance of Rs one lakh per individual customer.

* Will be allowed to set up branches, ATMs, BCs

* Allowed to issue debit cards also offer internet banking

* Can accept a large pool of money to be remitted but at the end of the day the balance should not exceed Rs one lakh

* Can accept remittances to be sent to or receive remittances from multiple banks

* Permitted to handle cross border remittance transactions in the nature of personal payments / remittances on the current account

* Allowed to distribute mutual fund products, insurance products and pension products

* Bank can also undertake utility bill payments

- Don'ts of payments banks:

* No NRI deposits should be accepted  

* Cannot issue credit card

* Not allowed to set up subsidiaries to undertake non-banking financial services activities  

* Other financial and non-financial services activities of the promoters should not be mingled with the working of payment banks

CBDT Notification On Computation Of Period Of Stay In India U/s 6(1)

CBDT Notification On Computation Of Period Of Stay In India U/s 6(1)

The CBDT has issued a Notification dated 17.08.2015 in which it has laid down rules on the computation of period of stay in India in certain cases. The rules come into effect with retrospective effect from 01.04.2015

17 August 2015

Approval and exemption u/s 10(23c)vi

Circular no 14 has been issued by CBDT today pertaining to approval and exemption u/s 10(23c)vi of I.T Act, 1961

13 August 2015

ICAI Election 2015


For Attention of the Prospective Candidates and Members at large

Sub: Election - 2015 - Draft List of Voters as on 1.4.2015 - Views/Suggestions on proposed Polling Booths

I. Members may be aware that the next elections to the Council and Regional Councils are scheduled to be held on 4th and 5th December, 2015 in cities having 2500 or more members and on 5th December, 2015 at all other places having 25 or more members in a city or within a distance of 50 kilometres thereof. The eligibility of a member to vote at a polling booth or vote by post would be decided based on his/her professional address as published in the List of Members as on 1.4.2015. Based on the List of Voters as on 1.4.2015, the draft List of Voters for the aforesaid elections have been hosted on the website of the Institute and the link to reach the same ishttp:// The draft List of Voters contains the professional address of the voters, his membership number and serial number in the List of Voters, his/her eligibility of vote i.e. whether he/she is eligible to vote at polling booth or by post and the Polling Centre. The list containing the Polling Centre and cities/towns attached with each polling centre has also been hosted separately on the website of the Institute. In the case of member abroad, his/her foreign address has been given and status has been indicated as Abroad and such members would be entitled to vote by post. Members are requested to kindly visit the website of the Institute and check their particulars as on the above date. If the particulars as published are not correct as on the date of 1.4.2015, the same may please be brought to the notice of the respective Decentralised Offices with a copy to election cell at e-mail - lov2015@icai.in along with the documentary evidence. It may please be noted that any change in the professional address or other particulars of a member that took place after 1.4.2015 would not be taken into account for the purpose of List of Voters.

II. The members whose professional addresses are falling within the cities/towns shown in the List of proposed Polling Booths would be eligible to vote by poll at the polling centre shown in the List. This list also contains the cities/towns attached with the Polling Centres and members in such cities would be required to visit the polling centre for voting. The members residing in the cities/towns not shown in the List of Proposed Polling Booths would be entitled to vote by post. The list of such cities/towns has also been given separately. The cities/towns attached with the proposed Polling Booths are the cities/towns which are within a distance of 50 kilometres from the respective Polling Centres. The List of proposed Polling Booths and cities/towns attached with Polling Centres and List of cities/towns not attached with any of the Polling Booths of the respective region have been hosted on the website of the Institute separately. The Link to reach the same is as under:-
The aforesaid lists have been prepared based on the number of members in the List of Members as on 1.4.2015. The cities/towns attached with the polling centres are the cities/towns which are within a distance of 50 kilometres from the respective Polling Centres. The corresponding pin-codes numbers of these cities/towns as per our data base have also been given. 

Views/suggestions/comments of the prospective candidates and members at large are invited latest by 21st August, 2015 in respect of the following:- 
(i) Whether the list of proposed polling booths and cities/towns attached with each Polling Centres are in order and if not what changes you would like to suggest, together the reason(s) thereof. 

(ii) Whether any new polling booth/s can be set up out of the cities/towns shown in the list at (ii) above or taking one or more cities from List at (i) and one or more cities from the list at (ii) above specially in cities having 15 or more members 

(iii) Whether it is possible to attach any of the cities mentioned in the list at (ii) above with any of the polling booths proposed as per list at (i) above. 
V. Sagar
Secretary and Returning Officer

12 August 2015

CBDT Circular on IT Staff

CBDT Hauls Up Officers & Staff For Leaving Early, Coming Late & Harassing Taxpayers

The CBDT has issued a stern Office Memorandum dated 07.08.2015 stating that officers/staff of the income Tax Department are leaving their stations/headquarters early on Fridays, during weekend and holidays and joining their duties late on next working day. It is further stated that many a times no permission is being taken from the superior controlling authorities before leaving location/headquarters as required under the rules. It is stated that apart from disturbing decorum and office discipline, this practise of leaving stations/headquarters by the officers /staff without prior permission and not observing the office timings, is causing inconvenience to the taxpayers and members of public who visit income tax offices in connection with their tax matters either by prior appointment or otherwise. This has been viewed adversely by the Chairperson, CBDT. The CBDT has warned that failure to obtain permission of competent authority before leaving station/headquarters is to be viewed seriously and may entail disciplinary action. It is also stated that Article 56 of the Civil Service Regulations also provides that no officer is entitled to pay and allowance for any time he may spend beyond the limits of his charge without authority

09 August 2015

Placement Scheme for selection of Articled Assistants by CA Firms

The Board of Studies of the institute has great pleasure in introducing an optional Articles Placement Scheme for selection of Articled Assistants by CA Firms. The scheme has been evolved to provide an opportunity to the firms of Chartered Accountants having vacancies for Articled Assistants to interact with the candidates who have either (a) Passed Group-I or both Groups of the IPCC examination , or (b) have been admitted under the Direct Entry Scheme and are eligible for undergoing articled training for selection as articled assistants in the C A Firms. This scheme at the same time, assists eligible students to get placement in CA Firms for their articles training.

No Fee is to be Charged From the Participating CA Firms and Students registering on the Portal.


04 August 2015

RBI Credit Policy (04 July 2015)

RBI Credit Policy (04 July 2015): RBI keeps rate unchanged with Repo Rate at 7.25%; Reverse Repo Rate stands at 6.25%; CRR unchanged at 4%. Estimated GDP growth for FY16 @7.60%.

03 August 2015

Multipurpose Empanelment Form (MEF) for the year 2015-16.

ICAI Announcement (03-08-2015)

Multipurpose Empanelment Form (MEF) for the year 2015-16.

This is to inform that Multipurpose Empanelment Form (MEF) for the year 2015-16 has been made live at www.meficai.org. The Members/firms can apply the form showing the status as on 1st January 2015. After filling the form, they are required to generate an online Declaration and Acknowledgment letter. They are also required to submit hard copy of Declaration in support of their online application along with a print out of the acknowledgment letter generated online. The application which does not have Declaration would not be entertained as a valid application.

Last date for submission of online form is 31st August, 2015 and last date of submission of hard copy of "DECLARATION FOR MEF 2015-16" is 15th September, 2015.

It is suggested that before going directly to the MEF form, applicant should first go through the link http://www.meficai.org/Advisory_2015.pdf "Points which shall be carefully read and be taken care for MEF 2015-16".

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