CBIC clarified Applicability of GST on Liquidated Damages [Read Circular]

CBIC - GST - Liquidated Damages - Taxscan

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has issued a circular clarifying the GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law.

Applicability of GST on payments in the nature of liquidated damage, compensation, penalty, cancellation charges, late payment surcharge etc. arising out of breach of contract or otherwise and scope of the entry at para 5 (e) of Schedule II of Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

The circular issued on Wednesday said that “Agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a situation, or to do an act” has been specifically declared to be a supply of service in para 5 (e) of Schedule II of CGST Act if the same constitutes a “supply” within the meaning of the Act.”

The circular stated that “forfeiture of earnest money by a seller in case of breach of ‘an agreement to sell’ an immovable property by the buyer or such forfeiture by Government or local authority in the event of a successful bidder failing to act after winning the bid for allotment of natural resources, is a mere flow of money, as the buyer or the successful bidder does not get anything in return for such forfeiture of earnest money. Forfeiture of earnest money is stipulated in such cases not as a consideration for tolerating the breach of contract but as a compensation for the losses suffered and as a penalty for discouraging the non-serious buyers or bidders. Such payments being merely flow of money are not a consideration for any supply and are not taxable.”

It further clarified that “the amount forfeited in the case of non-refundable ticket for air travel or security deposit or earnest money forfeited in case of the customer failing to avail the travel, tour operator or hotel accommodation service or such other intended supplies should be assessed at the same rate as applicable to the service contract, say air transport or tour operator service, or other such services.”

It was also advised the Field formations that while the taxability in each case shall depend on facts of that case, the above guidelines may be followed in determining whether tax on an activity or transaction needs to be paid treating the same as service by way of agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a situation, or to do an act.

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Case Number:   Circular No. 178/10/2022-GST

Date of Judgement:   3rd August, 2022

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