Budget 2016 punches lawyers, hike in service tax pinches everyone

Services are going to be costlier. And it’s going to be a taxing time for lawyers. The FM, a senior advocate himself, has withdrawn exemption of service tax enjoyed by lawyers so far. Now, like other professionals, lawyers will be taxed at 14% on providing legal services. The Swachh Bharat cess and the Krishi Vikas cess will be on top of that.

The provision has been extended to partnership firms of advocates, persons represented on an arbitral tribunal and the arbitral tribunal itself with effect from April 1.

The monetary limit for launching prosecution in service tax evasion cases has been increased to Rs 2 crore and the power to arrest has been restricted only to situations where the taxpayer has collected the tax but has not deposited it with the exchequer above a threshold of Rs 2 crore.

Travelling by ropeway, cable car or aerial tramway will be expensive with the government deciding to levy service tax at 14% from April 1.

Even exemption allowed so far on construction and commissioning of Metro and monorail has been withdrawn and they will be levied at 5.6%.

The FM, however, exempted services provided by Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) on its two-year fulltime post-graduate programme in management (PGPM) and other integrated programme in management and fellowship.

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