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Subscription-based elder care faces 18% GST: AAR

Mumbai, Jan. 10, 2023

The GST-Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) has held that a subscription-based elder care programme provided to senior citizens living alone — comprising medical check-ups at home and logistic support in terms of medicine & grocery deliveries, helping with bank work and utility bill payments — is not tax-exempt.

Three subscription packages were provided by the startup entity Snehador Social & Health Care Support. Senior citizens could enrol in a package best suited to their needs. The packages had an annual registration fee, a quarterly fee and a refundable security deposit. Services provided are not ‘health care services’ that are GST-exempt but are in the nature of ‘human health and social care services’ and would attract goods and services tax (GST) at 18%, ruled the AAR.

While visits by general physicians, nurses and care managers may get covered under health care services which are GST-exempt, these need to be provided by a clinical establishment, an authorised medical practitioner, or paramedics, said the AAR. The startup does not fall under these categories of suppliers. Thus, these services provided by it to its senior citizen members fail to qualify as exempted services.

Advance rulings do not set a judicial precedent but can have persuasive value in assessments. “In case of provision of two or more services, it is critical to examine each limb of service separately. An exemption, if any, can be claimed only on satisfaction of all conditions for a particular limb, provided the same is not a composite supply with the principal supply being taxable,” said Harpreet Singh, indirect tax partner, KPMG-India.

The AAR pointed out in its order that services provided to enrolled members comprised of two limbs. Snehador Social & Health Care Support had explained in its submission that it aimed to create a community where senior citizens can lead a physically and emotionally healthy and dignified life. Thus, services were also provided where senior citizens were accompanied for essential errands (such as to the bank) and social outings. Social gatherings and entertainment programmes were also organised for the enrolled members.

[The Times of India]

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