Authority for Advance Ruling (Karnataka): In a case relating to whether Karnataka Textbook Society(‘KTBS’) can be classified as an “educational institution” or “State Government” for the purpose of applicability of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on printing services provided to it by the Applicant, and whether the 12 percent tax rate charged by the printers for printing textbooks supplied to KTBS is correct or needs to be changed; the two-member bench of M.P Ravi Prasad and T. Kiran Reddy has observed that the society registered under the Karnataka Societies Act,1960, and receiving grants from the Karnataka Government for the supply of free textbooks to students enrolled in government and aided schools and by sales to Private schools cannot be considered as “State Government”.

The authority observed that KTBS does not have any specific notification for its exemption under the GST Act, further, it sells tenders for printing and supply of books on contract basis, and there is consideration of value of goods and services supplied by contractor to KTBS, hence, the event is taxable under the GST Act.

It was observed that KTBS is not an educational institution as it neither manages or runs an educational institution nor does it directly impart any education to students and is only facilitating the educational services by providing the required textbooks. Due to the similar reasons, it was further observed that KTBS cannot be classified as a “State Government”, however, it can be classified as a “Government Authority” as defined in Para 2(zf) of the Central Tax rate Notification No. 12/2017.

The authority further increased the tax rate charged by printers from KTBS for the printing of textbooks from 12 percent to 18 percent, according to the Central Tax rate notification No.6/2021, in the case of printing books where the content is provided by the recipient and the physical inputs including paper belongs to the printer, 18 percent tax rate will be charged.

[Bhagyam Binding Works, In re 2022 SCC OnLine Kar AAR-GST 11, decided on 12-08-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Sankari V. Krishnan, Advocate, Counsel for the Applicant.

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