CBEC Clarifications about GST on Certain Services as decided by GST Council

The CBEC has issued a Clarifications Circular regarding GST on Certain Services as decided in 25th Meeting of the GST Council, including on issues like hostel accommodation provided by charitable trusts, fee paid to consumer disputes redressal commission, rides on elephant/ camel/ rickshaw/ bot, consultancy fee paid by hospitals to senior doctors, retention deposit/ food provision at hospitals, etc., as under:

Clarifications about GST on Certain Services: CBEC Circular no. 32/06/2018 GST dt. 12 Feb. 2018

I am directed to issue clarification with regard to the following issues approved by the GST Council in its 25th meeting held on 18th January 2018:-

1. Is hostel accommodation provided by Trusts to students covered within the definition of Charitable Activities and thus, exempt under Sl. No. 1 of notification No. 12/2017-CT (Rate).

Hostel accommodation services do not fall within the ambit of charitable activities as defined in para 2(r) of notification No. 12/2017-CT(Rate). However, services by a hotel, inn, guest house, club or campsite, by whatever name called, for residential or lodging purposes, having declared tariff of a unit of accommodation below one thousand rupees per day or equivalent are exempt. Thus, accommodation service in hostels including by Trusts having declared tariff below one thousand rupees per day is exempt. [Sl. No. 14 of notification No. 12/2017-CT(Rate) refers].

2. Is GST leviable on the fee/amount charged in the following situations/cases: – 

(1) A customer pays fees while registering complaints to Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission office and its subordinate offices. These fees are credited into State Customer Welfare Fund’s bank account. 

(2) Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission office and its subordinate offices charge penalty in cash when it is required. 

(3) When a person files an appeal to Consumers Disputes Redressal Commission against order of District Forum, amount equal to 50% of total amount imposed by the District Forum or Rs 25000/- whichever is less, is required to be paid. 

Services by any court or Tribunal established under any law for the time being in force is neither a supply of goods nor services. Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (National/ State/ District) may not be tribunals literally as they may not have been set up directly under Article 323B of the Constitution. However, they are clothed with the characteristics of a tribunal on account of the following: –

(1) Statement of objects and reasons as mentioned in the Consumer Protection Bill state that one of its objects is to provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes, for which a quasijudicial machinery is sought to be set
up at District, State and Central levels.

(2) The President of the District/ State/National Disputes Redressal Commissions is a person who has been or is qualified to be a District Judge, High Court Judge and Supreme Court Judge respectively.

(3) These Commissions have been vested with the powers of a civil court under CPC for issuing summons, enforcing attendance of defendants/witnesses, reception of evidence, discovery/production of documents, examination of witnesses, etc.

(4) Every proceeding in these Commissions is deemed to be judicial proceedings as per sections 193/228 of IPC.

(5) The Commissions have been deemed to be a civil court under CrPC.

(6) Appeals against District Commissions lie to State Commission while appeals against the State Commissions lie to the National Commission. Appeals against National Commission lie to the Supreme Court.

In view of the aforesaid, it is hereby clarified that fee paid by litigants in the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions are not leviable to GST. Any penalty imposed by or amount paid to these Commissions will also not attract GST.

3. Whether the services of elephant or camel ride, rickshaw ride and boat ride should be classified under heading 9964 (as passenger transport service) in which case, the rate of tax on such services will be 18% or under the heading 9996 (recreational, cultural and sporting services) treating them as joy rides, leviable to GST@ 28%? 

Elephant/ camel joy rides cannot be classified as transportation services. These services will attract GST @ 18% with threshold exemption being available to small service providers. [Sl. No 34(iii) of notification No. 11/2017-CT(Rate) dated 28.06.2017 as amended by notification No. 1/2018-CT(Rate) dated 25.01.2018 refers].

4. What is the GST rate applicable on rental services of self-propelled access equipment (Boom Scissors/ Telehandlers)? The equipment is imported at GST rate of 28% and leased further in India where operator is supplied by the leasing company, diesel for working of machine is supplied by customer and transportation cost including loading and unloading is also paid by the customer. 

Leasing or rental services, with or without operator, for any purpose are taxed at the same rate of GST as applicable on supply of like goods involving transfer of title in goods. Thus, the GST rate for the rental services in the given case shall be 28%, provided the said goods attract GST of 28%. IGST paid at the time of import of these goods would be available for discharging IGST on rental services. Thus, only the value added gets taxed. [Sl. No 17(vii) of notification No. 11/2017- CT(Rate) dated 28.6.17 as amended refers].

5. Is GST leviable in following cases: 

(1) Hospitals hire senior doctors/ consultants/ technicians independently, without any contract of such persons with the patient; and pay them consultancy charges, without there being any employer-employee  relationship. Will such consultancy charges be exempt from GST? Will revenue take a stand that they are providing services to hospitals and not to patients and hence must pay GST? 

(2)Retention money: Hospitals charge the patients, say, Rs.10000/- and pay to the consultants/ technicians only Rs. 7500/- and keep the balance for providing ancillary services which include nursing care, infrastructure facilities, paramedic care, emergency services, checking of temperature, weight, blood pressure etc. Will GST be applicable on such money retained by the hospitals? 

(3) Food supplied to the patients: Health care services provided by the clinical establishments will include food supplied to the patients; but such food may be prepared by the canteens run by the hospitals or may be outsourced by the Hospitals from outdoor caterers. When outsourced, there should be no ambiguity that the suppliers shall charge tax as applicable and hospital will get no ITC. If hospitals have their own canteens and prepare their own food; then no ITC will be available on inputs including capital goods and in turn if they supply food to the doctors and their staff; such supplies, even when not charged, may be subjected to GST. 

Health care services provided by a clinical establishment, an authorised medical practitioner or para-medics are exempt. [Sl. No. 74 of notification No. 12/2017- CT(Rate) dated 28.06.2017 as amended refers].

(1) Services provided by senior doctors/ consultants/ technicians hired by the hospitals, whether employees or not, are healthcare services which are exempt.

(2) Healthcare services have been defined to mean any service by way of diagnosis or treatment or care for illness, injury, deformity, abnormality or pregnancy in any recognised system of medicines in India[para 2(zg) of notification No. 12/2017- CT(Rate)]. Therefore, hospitals also provide healthcare services. The entire amount charged by them from the patients including the retention money and the fee/payments made to the doctors etc., is towards the healthcare services provided by the hospitals to the patients and is exempt.

(3) Food supplied to the in-patients as advised by the doctor/nutritionists is a part of composite supply of healthcare
and not separately taxable. Other supplies of food by a hospital to patients (not admitted) or their attendants or visitors are taxable.

6. Appropriate clarification may be issued regarding taxability of Cost Petroleum. 

As per the Production Sharing Contract(PSC) between the Government and the oil exploration & production contractors, in case of a commercial discovery of petroleum, the contractors are entitled to recover from the sale proceeds all expenses incurred in exploration, development, production and payment of royalty. Portion of the value of petroleum which the contractor is entitled to take in a year for recovery of these contract costs is called “Cost Petroleum”.

The relationship of the oil exploration and production contractors with the Government is not that of partners but that of licensor/lessor and licensee/lessee in terms of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules, 1959. Having acquired the right to explore, exploit and sell petroleum in lieu of royalty and a share in profit petroleum, contractors carry out
the exploration and production of petroleum for themselves and not as a service to the Government. Para 8.1 of the Model Production Sharing Contract (MPSC) states that subject to the provisions of the PSC, the Contractor shall have exclusive right to carry out Petroleum Operations to recover costs and expenses as provided in this Contract. The oil exploration and production contractors conduct all petroleum operations at their sole risk, cost and expense. Hence, cost petroleum is not a consideration for service to GOI and thus not taxable per se.

However, cost petroleum may be an indication of the value of mining or exploration services provided by operating member to the joint venture, in a situation where the operating member is found to be supplying service to the oil exploration and production joint venture.

CBEC Clarifications regarding GST on Certain Services as decided by GST Council (Part-2)

The CBEC has issued a Clarification Circular regarding GST on Certain Services as decided by the GST Council, including on issues like bus body building, retreading of tyres, government guarantee commission, DISCOMS recovery charges, trading in PSLCs, etc., as under:

Clarifications about GST on Certain Services: CBEC Circular no. 34/08/2018 GST dt. 1 Mar. 2018

I am directed to issue clarification with regard to the following issues as approved by the Fitment Committee to the GST Council in its meeting held on 9th, 1oth and 13th January 2018:

1. Whether activity of bus body building, is a supply of goods or services?

In the case of bus body building there is supply of goods and services. Thus, classification of this composite supply, as goods or service would depend on which supply is the principal supply which may be determined on the basis of facts and circumstances of each case.

2. Whether retreading of tyres is a supply of goods or services?

In retreading of tyres, which is a composite supply, the pre-dominant element is the process of retreading which is a supply of service. Rubber used for retreading is an ancillary supply. Which part of a composite supply is the principal supply, must be determined keeping in view the nature of the supply involved. Value may be one of the guiding factors in this determination, but not the sole factor. The primary question that should be asked is what is the essential nature of the composite supply and which element of the supply imparts that essential nature to the composite supply.

Supply of retreaded tyres, where the old tyres belong to the supplier of retreaded tyres, is a supply of goods (retreaded tyres under heading 4012 of the Customs Tariff attracting GST @ 28%).

3. Whether Priority Sector Lending Certificates (PSLCs) are outside the purview of GST and therefore not taxable?

In Reserve Bank of India FAQ on PSLC, it has been mentioned that PSLC may be construed to be in the nature of goods, dealing in which has been notified as a permissible activity under section 6(1) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 vide Government of India notification dated 4th February, 2016. PSLC are not securities. PSLC are akin to freely tradeable duty scrips, Renewable Energy Certificates, REP license or replenishment license, which attracted VAT.

In GST there is no exemption to trading in PSLCs. Thus, PSLCs are taxable as goods at standard rate of 18% under the residuary S. No. 453 of Schedule III of notification No. 1/2017-Central Tax(Rate). GST payable on the certificates would be available as ITC to the bank buying the certificates.

4. (1) Whether the activities carried by DISCOMS against recovery of charges from consumers under State Electricity Act are exempt from GST? 

(2) Whether the guarantee provided by State Government to state owned companies against guarantee commission, is taxable under GST?

(1) Service by way of transmission or distribution of electricity by an electricity transmission or distribution utility is exempt from GST under notification No. 12/2017- CT (R), Sl. No. 25. The other services such as, –

i. Application fee for releasing connection of electricity;

ii. Rental Charges against metering equipment;

iii. Testing fee for meters/ transformers, capacitors etc.;

iv. Labour charges from customers for shifting of meters or shifting of service lines;

v. charges for duplicate bill; provided by DISCOMS to consumer are taxable.

(2) The service provided by Central Government/State Government to any business entity including PSUs by way of guaranteeing the loans taken by them from financial institutions against consideration in any form including Guarantee Commission is taxable.

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