"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 had 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 had gone up from 14 per cent to 14.5 per cent.The cess was levied only on the portion of taxable services (after abatement) and  goes towards funding of the Swachh Bharat scheme, a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
     
The concessions provided to the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) was expected to generate some interest of investors in them. Investors had been losing interest in these zones for various reasons including global economic slowdown, imposition of minimum alternate tax (MAT) and dividend distribution tax (DDT).

 

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