Airbus India liable to 18% GST on 'intermediary services' to overseas holding firm

Airbus India's technical advisory and procurement services for its France-based holding company are 'intermediary services' and liable to 18 per cent GST, Authority for Advance Ruling has said.

Airbus Group India had approached the Karnataka bench of the AAR, seeking a ruling on whether the services rendered by it to its holding company Airbus Invest SAS, France, would qualify as 'export of service' under Goods and Services Tax (GST) law and hence construed as a 'zero-rated supply'.

The applicant -- Airbus Group India Pvt Ltd -- is a subsidiary of Airbus Invest SAS, France, (Holding company) and its ultimate holding company is Airbus, SE Netherland.

Airbus India was established as a regional entity for performing services that include - procuring raw materials, assessing quality and risk evaluation, receiving a quotation from suppliers and sharing it with holding company, reviewing deadline of production, audit of the procurement process, report un-ethical suppliers' practices.

To the applicant's question as to whether such a supply would constitute as a supply of 'other professional, technical and business services, the Karnataka AAR ruled that Airbus India is an 'intermediary', providing services of the procurement operations for Airbus, France. Hence it would come under 'intermediary services' for the purpose of levy of GST.

"The services rendered by the applicant do not qualify as export of services....and consequently are exigible to GST at the rate of 18 per cent...," the AAR said.

AMRG & Associate Senior Partner Rajat Mohan said the AAR has ruled that Airbus India is liable to pay the tax on the services rendered to its international holding company, as it would qualify to be an intermediary service.

"Under the heading of Intermediary services, there is a raging battle between industry and the revenue department over the interpretation of the extent of facilitation and supply arrangement activities.

"Levying of GST by tax authorities on marketing services, back-end office assistance, customer relations, accounting, administration, liaison operations, and managing various documentation requirements offered to clients situated outside India has not been consistent across the country," Mohan said.

With the interpretational challenges, revenue-centric advance rulings, and void-ab-initio circular, the industry remains uncertain and requires more clarity and uniformity on this aspect, he added.

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