The cancellation of confirmed train tickets will now attract goods and services tax (GST) even as the finance ministry has also issued a notification regarding that. According to a notification issued by the finance ministry’s tax research unit, the cancellation charge for a first-class or AC coach ticket will now attract 5 per cent GST, which is the rate levied on the ticket.
According to the notification issued on August 3, the booking of tickets is a ‘contract’, under which the service provider (IRCTC/Indian Railways) promises to provide services to the customer. “When the contract is breached by the passenger, the service provider is compensated with a small amount, collected as a cancellation charge. Since the cancellation charge is a payment, and not breach of contract, it will attract GST,” the notification said.
The same principle will be applicable to the cancellation of air travel or hotel accommodation, where the cancellation charges will be taxed at the same GST rate as applicable to the principal service.
The GST rate on the cancellation will also depend upon that particular class. It will be the same as that applicable while booking seats/berths for that class, the notification said.
For instance, if the GST rate for first-class or AC coaches is 5 per cent and the cancellation charge for this category is Rs 240 per ticket. Here, the total cancellation cost will be Rs 252 ( Rs 240 + Rs 12 tax) for first-class/ AC compartments. However, there is no GST on other categories, including the second sleeper class.
For the cancellation of a ticket, Indian Railways charges Rs 240 when the ticket is cancelled 48 hours or more before the scheduled departure of the train. If the confirmed ticket is cancelled before 48 hours to 12 hours from the scheduled departure of the train, 25 per cent of the ticket amount is charged as a cancellation fee.
Recently, the 47th GST Council meeting at June-end decided to accept the group of ministers’ interim reports on the correction of duty inversion and exemption. Pre-packaged and pre-labelled retail packs, including curd, lassi and butter milk, were brought under GST, effective July 18.
The Council also decided to impose a GST of 18 per cent on the fees charged by banks for the issue of cheques (loose or in book form); bring hotel rooms under Rs 1,000 per day under the 12 per cent GST slab as opposed to tax exemption category currently.
Hospital room rent, excluding intensive care unit (ICU), exceeding Rs 5,000 per day per patient will also be taxed at 5 per cent, without input tax credit. The Council also decided to impose a 12 per cent GST on maps and hydrographic or similar charts of all kinds, including atlases, wall maps, topographical plans and globes.