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CBEC: No service tax on visa facilitators
April, 21st 2011

The Finance Ministry today said the assistance provided by visa facilitators to applicants does not come under the purview of service tax.

"Visa facilitators, while providing visa assistance directly to individuals do not act on behalf of the embassies as agents of the principal and hence service tax is not leviable within the meaning of business auxiliary service," Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said in a circular.

These facilitators help procure visas and directly assist individuals in completing immigration formalities.

CBEC said they collect from applicants certain statutory charges like visa fee, certification fee, attestation fee and emigration fee, which are remitted to the authorities.

"Such a service provided by a visa facilitator, in the form of assistance to individuals directly, to obtain a visa, does not fall under any of the taxable services... Hence service tax is not attracted," the circular said.

However, it said, service tax is leviable on any other services provided directly to individuals for obtaining visa would attract the levy.

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