prpri GST on Tour Operator Services GST on Tour Operator Services

‘Tour Operator’ shall mean any person engaged in the business of planning, scheduling, organizing, arranging tours (which may include arrangements for accommodation, sightseeing or other similar services) by any mode of transport, and includes any person engaged in the business of operating tours. The definition is provided by the Explanation in Heading 9985 of GST Tariff Act, 2017.

For example, Make my Trip, Expedia etc. These companies provide a complete package of tour which includes Boarding & Lodging, Transportation, Local Sightseeing, Guides etc. Now a days, this business has become purely an E-commerce business and all the big companies have their own web portal and mobile app.

Come the new idea of businesses, come more challenges with more complexity and opportunity. With this article an effort is made to descript the Services of Tour Operator under the aegis of Indian GST Laws.

As per Heading 9985 of GST Tariff Act, 2017, The rate of GST would be 5% (2.5% CGST+2.5% SGST) provided following conditions are met,

1. Input tax credit on services availed by the entity will not be available. However, Input Tax Credit on the services taken from other Tour Operator are allowed.

2. The entity shall indicate in its invoice that the amount charged is gross amount and inclusive of charges of accommodation and transportation

Therefore, if an entity offers a package to a customer for let’s say Rs. 1,05,000/- inclusive of everything, then the invoice shall be generated for Rs. 1,05,000/- (Rs. 5,000/- being CGST & SGST) and entity has to specifically mention in invoice that amount includes accommodation and transportation etc. No input tax credit on services like hotels, air tickets etc. will be available to the entity. However, Input Tax Credit may be taken on the tour operator services procured from another tour operator.

On the other hand, the entity may charge GST at the rate of 18% (9% CGST+9% SGST) on the total amount. In that case, the entity will be eligible to take all input tax credit like rent, professional fee, lease line, telephone etc. on the services that the entity acquired for providing the underlined services i.e. Tour Operating.

However, most of the input tax credit will not be available to the entity due to the nature and place of supply of those services which are taken by the entity. The main expenditure that entity will occur would be of Boarding & Lodging and Hotel booking. In case of Hotel booking, the place of supply would be the location where the hotel is situated and thus the hotel will charge CGST & SGST on the invoice. If the entity is not registered under GST in the state where the hotel is situated, the entity cannot take the input tax credit on that particular invoice. Same goes with flight tickets. The place of supply in case of air fare, would be the place from where the flight embarks and in case the entity does not have registration under GST in the state from where such flight take-off, the entity cannot take input tax credit of that invoice too.

Let’s understand the situation with an example. Suppose, a customer from Delhi approaches Tour Operator which is situated and registered in Bangalore, Karnataka for a complete package of 5D/6N tour to Kerala. The entity quotes Rs. 1,00,000 (Excluding GST) for the tour. The breakup of the charges is as follows,

Air fare (Economy class) from Delhi to Kochi and return 47620

GST charged by the Airlines@ 5%  2380

50,000
Hotel Charges 26785

GST charged by Hotel@ 12%  3215 

30,000
Other Charges 8475

GST Charged @  18%   1525

10,000
Entity’s Fees 10,000
Total 1,00,000

In this case, entity can opt either to pay 5% GST (IGST) on Rs. 1,00,000/- i.e. Rs. 5,000/- and avail no input tax credit or to pay 18% GST (IGST) and may avail input tax credit. But the entity is not eligible to take input tax credit on Air fare and Hotel charges as the place of supply, in case of Hotel, would be Kerala and in case of Air fare, it would be in Delhi. However, if the entity get itself registered in Kerala and Delhi, then it is possible for the entity to take input tax credit for these services also but that seems quite unfeasible considering the compliance burden which will be increased for the entity.

Further, in this case the entity must raise an invoice indicating specifically that the amount charged is gross amount and inclusive of charges of accommodation and transportation.

Though, most of the companies do operate as Tour Operator services, the entity may either provide services as an agent and charge commission on its service and take reimbursement in actual for the expenses that entity incurred for providing such services. Generally, small business entity opts for this model as in this model, the entity must pay tax only on the commission that it charges and not whole amount which is not even its revenue.

The entity may also opt to provide the underlined services on commission basis. In that case, the service will be categorized as ‘Intermediary’ and services like Boarding & Lodging etc. will be taken by the entity on behalf of customer. The entity will act as ‘Pure Agent’ and take reimbursement on actual basis from the customer.

As per section 2(13) of IGST Act, 2017,

“Intermediary” means a broker, an agent or any other person, by whatever name called, who arranges or facilitates the supply of goods or services or both, or securities, between two or more persons, but does not include a person who supplies such goods or services or both or securities on his own account”

And as per the Explanation to Rule 33 of CGST Rules, 2017,

“Pure agent” means a person who—

  • enters into a contractual agreement with the recipient of supply to act as his pure agent to incur expenditure or costs in the course of supply of goods or services or both;
  • neither intends to hold nor holds any title to the goods or services or both so procured or supplied as pure agent of the recipient of supply;
  • does not use for his own interest such goods or services so procured; and
  • receives only the actual amount incurred to procure such goods or services in addition to the amount received for supply he provides on his own account.”

In this case, the entity has to enter into an agreement with the customer to act as his pure agent and authorize itself to incur the expenses for services like Hotel, Taxi etc. on behalf of customer. The entity, in this case, will charge its commission (whatever agreed) from the customer and will take reimbursement of the expenses on actual basis which it incurred on behalf of customer.

Let’s understand this with our previous example. In that case, if the entity enters into an agreement with the customer to act as pure agent, then the entity will charge GST at the rate of 18%   on Rs. 10,000/- only i.e. Rs. 1,800/- and will take reimbursement of Rs. 90,000/- as actual expense incurred on behalf of the customer.

However, in this model, there are certain conditions which needs to be complied with. As per Rule 33 of CGST Rules, 2017,

“Notwithstanding anything contained in the provisions of this Chapter, the expenditure or costs incurred by a supplier as a pure agent of the recipient of supply shall be excluded from the value of supply, if all the following conditions are satisfied, namely, —

  • the supplier acts as a pure agent of the recipient of the supply, when he makes the payment to the third party on authorization by such recipient;
  • the payment made by the pure agent on behalf of the recipient of supply has been separately indicated in the invoice issued by the pure agent to the recipient of service; and
  • the supplies procured by the pure agent from the third party as a pure agent of the recipient of supply are in addition to the services he supplies on his own account”

Taking the previous example further, the entity has to raise an invoice for Rs. 10,000/- and add 18% GST thereupon and will indicate separately in the invoice for the payment made by the entity as pure agent on behalf of the customer.

A graphical flow chart will explain both the options in much better way,

A graphical flow chart will explain both the options in much better way

In case the entity takes services of any other Tour Operator, let’s say for planning the itinerary for the customers for particular packages, the entity can take input tax credit regardless of his choice to act as Tour operator or Agent.

For better understanding, let’s continue with the example cited above. In that case, let’s say 25% is the fixed charges for the other Tour Operator which will come out to be Rs. 2,500/- (on Rs. 10,000/-). Now, the other Tour Operator shall charge GST at the rate of 5% (i.e. Rs. 125/-). In this case, the entity can take input tax credit of Rs. 125/- even if the entity has opted to pay tax at the rate of 5% on the total amount.

Let’s understand this with graphical depiction,

The entity Opts to pay 5%

The GST shall be charged and paid at the time of payment or invoice whichever is earlier. Therefore, for the purpose of GST, the entity shall recognize its revenue on the payment basis.

However, if the entity opts to act as ‘Pure Agent’ the GST shall be charged when the final invoice is raised or the receipts of the commission whichever is earlier.

About the Author

Amit Jindal

Author is Amit Jindal, ACA working as Manager Taxation in Neeraj Bhagat & Co. Chartered Accountants, a Chartered Accountancy firm helping foreign companies in setting up business in India and complying with various tax laws applicable to foreign companies while establishing their business in India.

Author Bio

Qualification: CA in Practice
Company: Neeraj Bhagat & Co.
Location: New Delhi, New Delhi, IN
Member Since: 28 Feb 2019 | Total Posts: 103
Neeraj Bhagat & Co. is helping foreign companies in opening up of Liaison/ Branch Office in India and complying with various tax laws applicable to foreign companies while establishing a business in India. Neeraj Bhagat is the founder of Neeraj Bhagat & Co. Chartered Accountants, a Chartered View Full Profile

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49 Comments

  1. ZIAULLAH SHERIFF says:

    Hello sir,

    I have started a new travel agency, Now As of things will charge 18% on flight bookings and 5% on cabs,hotel,visa. .Now my question is should I charge these GST on my margin (Ie 1000₹+18% was flight ticket and I sold for 1200₹) then my invoice to client should like (1200+18%) or (200+18%) for flights..if it’s (1200+18% then invoice value is 1416₹ which he can claim, oR (200+18% =236₹) which he can claim

    Second , I’m getting an invoice from hotel people for 12% but I’m giving to client as 5%.. so it should be on whole amount or only on my margin should give ..

    Please advice

    Regards,
    Sheriff

    Please advice…

    1. Neeraj Bhagat & Co. says:

      Mr Sheriff

      In the case flight ticket booking, you have to charge GST at the rate of 18% on the commission value i.e. in your case you have to charge GST on INR 200. In case of hotel booking, you can charge GST both ways either on whole value or only on the commission. In case you are working on commission basis then GST rate would be 18%. In case you are charging GST on the whole amount, GST would be charged based on the room tariff as below,

      INR 7,500 28%

    2. Neeraj Bhagat & Co. says:

      If room tariff is below Rs.1,000 then there would be no GST. If it is between Rs.1,000 -2,499.99 then the rate would be 12%. If it is between Rs.2,500 -7,499.99 then 18% and if it is INR 7,500 or more the rate would be 28%.
      For more detail on this you can reach out to us on our website

  2. Rahul says:

    Sir my vichele is in tender under govt hospital for staff duty … i will pay 12 percent gst and my annual income is less then 5 lakh what can i do? I should pay or not plsase tell me

    1. Neeraj Bhagat & Co. says:

      If your annual income is less than 5 lakh then you need not to get registered under GST and if you are not registered then there is no liability of GST on you for the services you provide

  3. Hardik says:

    Dear Sir
    can we take input tax credit on Input goods & assets or other support service credit while we obtaining 5 % GST Slab ??

  4. Lois Dutta says:

    Dear Sir
    Can a travel company work as both method as a tour operators and pay 5% gst on whole amount ,and take ITC in case purchase package from other tour operator.
    As a travel agent and pay gst 18% only on service charge with itc.

  5. Alex Gladson says:

    I am own a transport which provide staff travelling to company. In this case I have two client 1 client asking for 18% and 1 client asking for 5% while I have one transport can I gave two different types of GST percentages. Can anyone suggest answer for my question

  6. AIshwary Jain says:

    What if I am providing Tour service to Government department. is 5% tax applicable to me.
    As I am charging 5% tax in B2C and government department is paying RCM and not paying me 5%.

  7. Swapnil Kinkar says:

    Hi,

    Sir I have made partial advance payment of total tour package but now tour is canceled, now I am asking for refund but tour operator says that we have paid 5% GST so this amount will no be paid. Please suggest & confirm.

    1. Neeraj Bhagat & Co. says:

      You are eligible for GST refund also on the proportionate amount of advance that you have paid. You need to talk with the tour agency and ask them to give you a credit note for this.”

  8. PADAM KUMAR GHATLIYA says:

    Some a portal charged 5% TDS on commission earned (Not 18% GST on commission).

    In case airline ticket breakup is
    Base fare : 13,319, Other Taxes :578, K3 : 668 = 14,565 (Gross fare)
    Less (Commission earned ) = -327.65
    Add (TDS deducted 5% of comm) = 16.38
    Nett Payable Amount 14254/-

    Can you please advice me how to raise tax invoice if I sell it @14,500
    How to get ITC ?

    1. Neeraj Bhagat & Co. says:

      In case flight ticket is booked by client himself then you will bill for only your commission as agreed upon and charge GST @ 18% thereupon. You cannot take input on that because the invoice is in the name of the client and not you.”

      1. Jayesh bhanushali says:

        Sir, we are a travel agency offering bungalows, villas, tours packages and various services. What GST we should charge particularly on bungalows, villas, hotels to our client. Is it on the commission, if yes then customers might clearly know the business inside out and might refrain doing business with us in future. Also on what amount we have to file our ITC to get rebate or input tax credit

  9. Atin says:

    Hi
    Thanx for such an elaborate GST guidlines for travel agents.
    I just have a question:
    Many a times guests want a GST credit from their Flight and Hotel Bookings done through us. But these days most of the Travel agents use consolidators inventory for the same and don’t have option to put guests GST in those bookings so that he can get back the GST input.
    How to deal with these?

    Also, in international bookings, how to deal with such GST issues?

    Thanx.
    Atin.

  10. Lovedesh Gupta says:

    Sir, please clarify, if the entity is working as a pure agent and charging 18% GST on the commission amount only. Will ITC be available on that GST amount on commission?

  11. Vikas Kumar says:

    Dear Sir
    Can a travel company work as both method as a tour operators and pay 5% gst on whole amount ,and take ITC in case purchase package from other tour operator.
    As a travel agent and pay gst 18% only on service charge with itc.

  12. SUMANT KUMAR says:

    Sir i am a travel agent in Port Blair , if my package cost (separate cost)
    HOTEL – 22000
    CRUISE – 15000
    VEHICLE COST = 8000
    SERVICE CHARGE = 2000
    THEN HOW CAN I GENERATE MY GST BILL ,
    PLEASE ADVICE

  13. vikaskumarsain97@gmail.com says:

    I am working in a tour and travel agent company.
    I have a problem or confusion in gst return filling that if we are paying tax on margin basis in gst then I want to ask you how to show in gst return .
    What we have to show reimburse value in gst return in 3b or R 1 as a total invoice value .
    Please suggest me.

  14. Ayush says:

    Hello Sir,
    Whether it is allowed to opt for both the options in the same financial year ie to pay GST @5%/18% for some clients and also act as a pure agent and charge GST @18% on commission for some other clients

  15. Vikas Kumar says:

    Dear sir
    If we are working as a tour and travel agent and paying gst on services charge ,
    Then in this case how to show total invoice amount in gst return.
    Suppose we give package to client Rs -1,00,000 including services charge.

    Our purchase for of client is -85000
    Our magin is -15000
    Taxable. -12712
    Gst,18%. 2288
    Total. 15000
    Then in gst return what total invoice value We have to show in gst R1
    15000 or 100000
    And in gstr3B what taxable value we have to show. -12712. Or another value .
    Please suggest me .

  16. Hardik says:

    Where tour operator is preparing invoice on pure agent basis charging gst on only commission amount and taking only reimbursement of hotel booking, whether hotel invoice will be in the name of your operator or the client of tour operator who is service receipent? In case tour operator take hotel invoice in own name, what will be the consequences?

  17. Mohan says:

    If a company is operating as a pure agent in few places , and as tour operator in few.. Can it bill 18% & 5% respectively and file in GST returns ?

  18. Muthanna says:

    Dear Mr Neeraj,
    In the below explanation, Is 18% mentioned assuming that the Tour operator has opted for the 18% GST ? or is it charged at 18% for both cases i.e 5% and 18% ?
    “Let’s understand this with our previous example. In that case, if the entity enters into an agreement with the customer to act as pure agent, then the entity will charge GST at the rate of 18% on Rs. 10,000/- only i.e. Rs. 1,800/- and will take reimbursement of Rs. 90,000/- as actual expense incurred on behalf of the customer.”

  19. Tejaswini says:

    Hi Sir, you said generally small businesses act as pure agent and charge GST on commission/ Service charges only,
    Suppose a tour operator make hotel bookings not as per client requirement i mean fixed number of bookings every month then this tour operator aslo need to charge based on slabs? or how can this is chargable when he sell to their customers

  20. Ram Bhupal says:

    Dear Sir,
    thanks for your advice. i just want to know the input tax credit allowed between two operators from same service – there is still doubt in this in many minds. So want to find out which particular section is this allowed under the Act? – input credit is allowed from same serivce in B2B. which particular section?

    thansk and regards

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