CA Bimal Jain
Courses in : (i) Mass Communication, (ii) International Business Management, (iii) Telecom Management, (iv) Information Technology, (v) Management Studies, (vi) Geo-informatics and (vii) Operational Management are ‘vocational courses’ and therefore, exempt from Service tax
In the instant case, Symbiosis Society (the Appellant) was conducting fifteen courses in their educational institutes. The Department alleged that the amounts received as fees for conducting courses on (i) Institute of Mass Communication, (ii) International Business Management, (iii) Telecom Management, (iv) Information Technology, (v) Management Studies, (vi) Geo-informatics and (vii) Operational Management during the period from July 1, 2003 to March 31, 2006 are liable to levy of Service tax under the category of “commercial training or coaching centres” and thereby, confirmed the demand on the Appellant.
The Hon’ble CESTAT, Mumbai has held that the courses provided by the Appellant were falling under the category of ‘vocational training’, which enables students to seek employment/self-employment and therefore, exempt from the levy of Service tax under Notification 9/2003-ST dated March 1, 2003.
Our Comments: Effective from July 1, 2012, services by way of education as a part of an ‘approved vocational education course’ are not liable to Service tax as per the Negative list of service, as specified under Clause (l)(iii) to Section 66D of the Finance Act.