WB AAR | Facilitating legal aid and other assistance to survivors of sexual violence not “supply of service”: Charitable trust held not liable to pay GST on such assistance

West Bengal Authority for Advance Ruling: A Division Bench of Susmita Bhattacharya, Joint Commissioner, CGST & CX and  Parthasarathi Dey, Additional Commissioner, SGST, while addressing a matter, with regard to liability of tax on the applicant, held that,

Applicant’s activities do not amount to ‘supply’ of service, neither is it a recipient of the services for which it often provides financial assistance to the women survivors of sexual and other violence, therefore, not liable to pay GST on the activities described.

Applicant in the present application is a charitable trust under Section 12 A of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

It is involved in extending legal, medical, psychological and financial support to the women and their children surviving violence and abuse along with facilitating training programmes and workshops for the survivors.

Applicant in the present application approached the AAR in order to know whether it is liable to pay tax on its activities or not?

The above-stated question is admissible under Section 97(2)(e) and (g) of the GST Act.

Adding to its submissions, it also states that it does not charge anything on the survivors for the services it extends and the payments for aiding the services are done through donations.

Observations

Applicant is assisting the women survivors in various ways to get back on their feet. Survivors of sexual and other violence need services like legal aid, medical assistance, and vocational training. Recipient of such services is, therefore, not the applicant but the survivor woman.

Hence, the AAR concluded that the applicant makes payments not to the supplier of the services, but as financial support in the form of reimbursement to the recipient survivor. It is, therefore, not liable to pay GST based on reverse charge mechanism on such payments.

Applicant does not charge any consideration for facilitating the legal aid and other assistance. Such activities of the applicant, therefore, does not result in ‘supply’ of service as defined under Section 7 (1) of the GST Act. The applicant is not, therefore, liable to pay tax thereon. [Swayam, In Re., 03/WBAAR/2020-21, decided on 29-06-2020]

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