The Revenue Department is trying to locate 9 lakh business entities that stopped filing service tax returns, with a view to improving collections, meeting Rs 82,000-crore target in 2011-12 and to ascertain whether there is any tax evasion.
There are 15 lakh registered service tax payers in the country. According to the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Chairman S D Majumdar, only six lakh service tax payers are filing returns.
"So, nine lakh have stopped filing returns. We are trying to locate them and find out whether they have really stopped providing service or there is (tax) evasion," Majumdar said.
He said the Revenue Department was taking a number of steps to increase the indirect tax collection.
"We have taken a number of steps towards the recovery, so that there is no evasion of service tax," he said, adding that service tax collection has been good in the first four months of the fiscal.
In the April-July period, the growth in service tax collection is estimated at 35.5 per cent, Majumdar said.
In 2010-11, the service tax collection was Rs 70,200 crore, which exceeded the revised estimates of Rs 69,400 crore. In the previous year, the tax mop-up was Rs 58,422 crore.
The tax, at a rate of 10 per cent, is imposed on a limited number of services, like banking, hotel and telephony.
However, with the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) the scope of service tax would be widened.
The Finance Ministry is working on a 'negative list' of service tax, meaning all those services which are not in the list would be taxed.