India Exempts Visa Facilitators from Service Tax

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Apr. 25 – India’s Finance Ministry has stated that the aid provided by visa facilitators to applicants does not come under the range of service tax. According to the circular from the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), visa facilitators, while providing visa assistance directly to individuals, do not act on behalf of the embassies as agents of the principal and hence service tax is not leviable within the meaning of business auxiliary service.

According to the statement from the CBEC, these visa facilitators charge from applicants certain legal charges like visa fee, certification fee, attestation fee and emigration fee, which are submitted to the authorities.

These kinds of services (helping the individual directly) do not come under the taxable facility. It is important to note here that any other services by the visa facilitators to the individual directly would be charged as service tax.

Visa facilitators simply assist in the providing of visas and directly help individuals who want to make a trip abroad to complete the immigration paperwork.

Where is service tax applicable?
In providing services to individuals for visa acquisitions, visa facilitators may work as mediators of recruitment or of overseas employers, in which case, service tax is charged to the extent under the service of “supply of manpower.” Also, in giving visa assistance to individuals who are working in a business unit, but the service charge may be compensated by the business body on behalf of those persons, to the visa facilitator, in this case, service tax is charged under “business support service.”

Please note that the date of implementation for this new circular by the CBEC hasn’t been announced.

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