Authority of Advanced Ruling (Karnataka): In an application filed to sought advance ruling on the question that, whether the applicant would be eligible to avail the input tax credit, in terms of Section 16 of the Central Goods and Services (‘CGST’) Act , 2017, on vouchers and subscription packages procured by the applicant from third party vendors, the two-member bench of M.P. Ravi Prasad and T. Kiran Reddy has ruled that the applicant is not eligible to avail the input tax credit, as it is not available in terms of Section 17(5)(h) of the CGST Act, 2017.
The Authority noted that the loyalty program operates in a specified manner and the applicant does not give vouchers and subscription packages to every customer but only to eligible customers participating in the loyalty program and who wish to redeem their accumulated loyalty points and the applicant do not receive any monetary consideration from the said customers. Further these points are non-transferable, can’t be converted into cash.
Further, the applicant procures the vouchers and subscription packages from third party vendors upon payment of GST and provide the same to customers on redemption of the loyalty points earned by them and are themselves not in the business of supply of the said vouchers and subscription packages. The vendors will be raising invoices on the applicant by classifying their outward supply as ‘other professional, technical and business services’.
Moreover, the expenditure incurred by the applicant in running the loyalty program and procuring the said vouchers is not in the nature of capital expenditure or in the nature described under Sections 30 to 36 of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Thus, the said amount is expended wholly and exclusively for the purpose of business of the applicant and the same is allowed under Section 37(1) of the Income tax Act, 1961 in computing the income chargeable under the head ‘Profits and gains of business or profession’.
The Authority observed that the input tax credit is an entitlement to a registered person which can be taken subject to conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed. Also, Section 17(5) prescribes that input tax credit shall not be available in respect of certain supplies. Thus, the issue is to decide whether the inward supply i.e., the voucher merits classification as ‘goods and services’ and if they are goods whether they were disposed of by way of gift.
The Authority took note of the ‘voucher’ under Section 2(118) of the CGST Act, 2017 and observed that the subscription packages procured by the applicant from vendors and supplied to customers against loyalty points is also a ‘voucher’ as it places an obligation on the potential supplier to accept it as consideration for supply of goods and services to the holder of the instrument. Further, the vouchers printed on paper are undoubtedly goods as they are tangible, however, e-vouchers are also goods as the definition of goods under Section 2(52) of the CGST Act, is not restricted to tangible property and refers to every kind of movable property capable of transmitted or supplied.
The Authority took note of the ruling in Vikas Sales Corporation v. Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Appeal (Civil) 7771-75 of 1996, wherein the Court held “that import licenses are not actionable claims, they have a monetary value, they are freely transferable and hence are goods”, and observed that voucher is like an import license and thus, vouchers are covered under goods. Further, Para 1 (a) Schedule II to Section 7 specifies that any transfer of the title in goods is supply of goods, as transfer of supply of voucher involves transfer of the title, thus, they are covered under supply of goods.
Moreover, the Authority observed that the applicant based on a particular transaction by the customer through their e-commerce platform subject to acceptance of terms and conditions, allows the customer to earn loyalty points. The applicant in the said transaction recovers the full amount from the customer and gives the loyalty points free of cost. As the vouchers are issued free of cost to the customer, it amounts to disposal of vouchers by way of gifts and covered under Section 17(5)(h) of the CGST Act. Thus, the applicant cannot avail the input tax credit.
[Myntra Designs Pvt. Ltd., In re, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar AAR-GST 14, decided on 14.09.2022]
Advocate who appeared in this case :
Represented by: Advocate Tarun Gulati.