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Service Tax Act 2018: Amendment of Sections 13, 14 & 17: On the Registration

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

"Section 13 - Application For Registration" is read as follows:-

13(1) [Application for registration]


Any person who is liable to be registered under section 12 shall apply to the Director General for registration as a registered person in the prescribed form not later than the last day of the month following the month in which he is liable to be registered as referred to in paragraph 12(2)(a) or (b) or subsection 12(3).


13(2) [Approval subject to conditions]


Upon receipt of the application under subsection (1), the Director General may approve the registration, subject to such conditions as he deems fit.


13(3) [Date of registration]


The Director General shall register the person under subsection (1) with effect from the first day of the month following the month in which the application under subsection (1) is made or from such earlier date as may be agreed between the Director General and the person but such date shall not be earlier than the date the person becomes liable to be registered.


13(4) [Failure to comply with registration due date]


Where any person fails to comply with subsection (1), the Director General shall register that person on the date as the Director General may determine but not earlier than the date he is liable to be registered under section 12.


13(5) [Offence]


Any person who fails to comply with subsection (1) commits an offence.


13(6) [Exception to foreign service provider]


This section shall not apply to a foreign service provider.

"Section 14 - Voluntary Registration" is read as follows:-

14(1) [Voluntary registration]


Any person who is not liable to be registered under section 12 may apply to the Director General for registration as a registered person.


14(2) [Approval and determination of date of voluntary registration]


Upon receipt of the application under subsection (1), the Director General may approve the registration from such date as he may determine subject to such conditions as he deems fit.


14(3) [Exception to foreign service provider]


This section shall not apply to a foreign service provider.


"Section 17 - Registration of Branches Or Divisions" is read as follows:-

17(1) [Registration]


Where any business of a registered person is carried on by one or more branches or divisions, the registered person may apply to the Director General, in the prescribed form, for any of the branches or divisions to be registered in the name of the branch or division.


17(2) [Approval subject to conditions]


The Director General may approve an application made under subsection (1) subject to such conditions as he deems fit if he is satisfied that the registered person has fulfilled the following requirements:

  1. it is likely to cause real difficulty for the registered person to submit a single return in respect of all the branches or divisions but for the separate registration;

  2. each branch or division maintains a separate account in respect of its activities;

  3. each branch or division is separately identifiable by reference to the nature of the activities carried on by or the location of the branch or division; and

  4. each branch or division has the same taxable period.


17(3) [Cancellation]


The Director General may, at any time, by notice in writing to the registered person, cancel the registration approved under subsection (2) in respect of any or all of the branches or divisions if he is satisfied that—

  1. the registered person has failed to comply with any condition imposed by the Director General under subsection (2);

  2. any of the requirements referred to in subsection (2) has ceased to apply;

  3. the registered person has provided any false, misleading or inaccurate declaration or information in his application under subsection (1); or

  4. it is necessary for the protection of the revenue.


17(4) [Effective date]


Where the Director General cancels the registration in accordance with subsection (3), the cancellation shall have effect from the date as the Director General may determine.


17(5) [Application for termination]


Subject to subsection (6), the registered person may apply in writing to the Director General for any branch or division separately registered under subsection (2) to cease to be so registered, and the Director General may cancel the separate registration with effect from the date of application or from such later date as the Director General may determine.


17(6) [Time period]


A registered person registered under subsection (2) shall remain registered for a period of not less than two years or such other shorter period as the Director General may determine.


17(7) [Exception to foreign registered person]


This section shall not apply to a foreign registered person.


Finance (No. 2) Bill 2023

The proposed amendments to Sections 13, 14, and 17 of the Service Tax Act 2018, as outlined in the Finance (No. 2) Bill 2023, bring notable changes to the application and registration processes.


These sections, governing the compulsory and voluntary registration of taxable individuals and entities and the registration of branches or divisions, are subject to modifications aimed at streamlining procedures and providing greater flexibility.


The key adjustment across these sections is the stipulation that application forms for registration must now be submitted "in the form and manner as determined by the Director General."


This shift empowers the Director General to define the specific format and method for submitting registration forms, introducing a more adaptable and dynamic approach to the registration process.


The tax impact of these amendments lies in the procedural adjustments, marking a noteworthy evolution in how individuals and entities engage with the registration requirements under the Service Tax Act.






Let's look at these three sections:- Section 13 - Application For Registration:

  • Original Section (Before Amendment):

    • Individuals liable for registration must apply using the prescribed form not later than the last day of the month following their liability.

    • The Director General may approve registration subject to conditions.

    • Registration is effective from the first day of the month following the application or an agreed-upon earlier date.

    • Failure to comply leads to registration by the Director General at a determined date, not earlier than the liability date.

    • Non-compliance is an offence.

    • Foreign service providers are exempt.


  • Amendment Proposed:

    • Application forms must be submitted "in the form and manner as determined by the Director General."


Section 14 - Voluntary Registration:

Original Section (Before Amendment):

  • Those not liable for registration may voluntarily apply.

  • Director General may approve registration from a determined date with conditions.

  • Excludes foreign service providers.


Amendment Proposed:

  • The amendment introduces the requirement for application forms to be submitted "in the form and manner as determined by the Director General."


Section 17 - Registration of Branches Or Divisions:

Original Section (Before Amendment):

  • Registered persons operating through branches or divisions may apply for separate registration.

  • Approval is subject to conditions, for example, cancellation for non-compliance.

  • Cancellation is effective from the date determined by the Director General.

  • Registered persons may apply for termination of separate registration.

  • A registered person remains registered for a minimum of two years.

  • Excludes foreign registered persons.


Amendment Proposed:

  • The amendment requires application forms for registration of branches or divisions to be submitted "in the form and manner as determined by the Director General."


Tax Impact:

The proposed amendments emphasize that the registration application forms must be submitted as determined by the Director General.


This grants the Director General the authority to specify the format and method for submitting these forms, providing more flexibility and adaptability in the registration process.


The tax impact would primarily involve procedural changes in how individuals and entities apply for registration under these sections.



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