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Swachh Bharat Cess (SBC)

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Swachh Bharat Cess (Clean India Cess) is a levy/tax imposed by the Union Government on all services, which are liable to service tax, for raising funds for the Sanitation campaign of the Government known as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

The cess got imposed with effect from 15 November 2015 at the rate of 0.5%. This translates into a tax of 50 paisa on every one hundred rupees worth of taxable services. This cess is levied in addition to any cess or Service Tax levied at present. The proceeds from this cess are announced to be exclusively used for Swachh Bharat initiatives as per a press release dated 6 November 2015.

For more details please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

SBC has been subsumed into the Goods and Service Tax, when the latter got introduced on 1 July 2017.

Background and legal provisions

Swachh Bharat Cess (SBC) was announced in the Union Budget, 2015-16. A provision was made in the Finance Act, 2015 (Chapter VI) for levying a Swachh Bharat Cess on all or any of the services, for the purposes of financing and promoting Swachh Bharat initiatives or for any other purpose relating thereto.

In fact, Finance Act 2015 defines SBC as a service tax on all or any of the taxable services at the rate of two percent on the value of such services for the purposes of financing and promoting Swachh Bharat initiatives or for any other purpose relating thereto. That is, even though it is called a cess, it is not imposed on the value of service tax estimated but on the full value of services offered thereby, raising the overall service tax rate to 14.5% (14% service tax imposed at present + 0.5% SBC)

The proceeds of the Swachh Bharat Cess are first credited to the Consolidated Fund of India and the Central Government may, after due appropriation made by Parliament, utilise the money for such specified purposes as it may consider necessary. It needs to be paid only if the particular service comes under the purview of service tax.

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