Taxpayer is involved in the business of supplying food to passengers travelling via Rajdhani Trains and other mails/express trains on basis of the menu approved by Indian Railway. Primarily, the Taxpayer was supplying food via three different modes. Firstly, supply of food through the food plaza / food stalls on the railway platforms; Secondly, supply of food on board the trains, including mandatory supply of newspapers; Thirdly, supply of food on board the mail/express trains. The Taxpayer preferred the application for advance ruling under Section 97 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (“CGST Act”) before the Authority for Advance Ruling (“Authority”). On basis of the materials and records placed before the Authority, an advance ruling was sought in relation to the rate of GST applicable on the said supply of foods/beverages, and the mandatory supply of newspapers on board the trains by the Taxpayer.
Taxpayer was of the view that the supply of foods/beverages from food stalls / food plazas at the platforms and on board the trains would be taxable at the rate of 5% integrated tax (“IGST”) in terms of the Entry No. 7 of Notification No. 11/2017 – Central Tax (Rate) dated June 28, 2017 (“Rate Notification”). Further, the supply of newspaper would be exempt from GST as per the Entry No. 120 of Notification No. 2/2017 – Central Tax (Rate) dated June 28, 2017 (“Exemption Notification”). The jurisdictional Commissioner (CGST) agreed to the views of the Taxpayer except with respect to supply of foods/beverages on board the trains, which would be taxable at the rate of 18% IGST, being the supply of ‘outdoor catering’ services.Basis the perusal of contracts / agreements, the Authority observed that for supply of food on the trains, there are three transactions, one between the passengers and the Indian Railways, second between Indian Railways and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (“IRCTC”) and third between IRCTC and the Taxpayer. The present application pertains to the third transaction vis-à-vis between IRCTC and the Taxpayer.
The Authority observed that the train is a mode of transport and hence cannot be treated as a restaurant, eating joint, canteen, etc. Accordingly, the catering services provided on-board a train are not covered under S. No. 7(i) of the Rate Notification, as claimed by the Taxpayer. Further, with respect to the treatment of said supply of food/beverages on-board a train as composite supply of services, the Authority ruled that since no element of service is involved, the same shall be treated as pure supply of goods. In similar terms, the supply of foods/beverages from the food stalls on the platform shall be treated as pure supply of goods. Further, the supply of newspapers, which is separately invoiced, shall be exempted from GST in terms of the S. No. 120 of the Exemption Notification. Accordingly, the application for Advance Ruling was disposed off by the Authority.
(In Re: Deepak and Company; Advance Ruling No. 02/DAAR/2018; Authority for Advance Ruling, New Delhi)
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