Finmin to refund Swachh Bharat cess paid by SEZs

Finmin to refund Swachh Bharat cess paid by SEZs

Providing relief to SEZ units and developers, the Finance Ministry today said they will be entitled to refund of the Swachh Bharat cess, a levy imposed by the government from November last year to fund its cleanliness drive.

"The SEZ Unit or the Developer shall be entitled to refund of the Swachh Bharat Cess paid on the specified services on which ab-initio exemption is admissible but not claimed," the Central Board of Excise and Customs said in a notification.

It has also specified a formula for calculating refund due to SEZ units and developers.
Government had imposed 0.5 per cent Swachh Bharat cess on taxable services from November 15, 2015. With the imposition of the cess, service tax rate has gone up from 14 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

The cess is levied only on the portion of taxable services (after abatement) and will go towards funding of the Swachh Bharat scheme, a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The concessions provided to the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) is expected to generate some interest of investors in them. Investors have been losing interest in these zones for various reasons including global economic slowdown, imposition of minimum alternate tax (MAT) and dividend distribution tax (DDT).

Many business houses have surrendered SEZs while the government on its part has given more time to some developers to execute the projects

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